Ottawa further expands its military presence on Ukrainian soil citing alleged ?Russian aggression?
Canada announced on Wednesday that it would extend its mission to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces by three years and would provide an extra 60 soldiers, with the possibility of raising boots on the ground to as high as 400.
While 200 Canadian military personnel are already stationed in Ukraine, another 60 will be deployed in the coming days, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced.
"The biggest contribution that Canada can make to Ukraine right now is people," claimed Defense Minister Anita Anand, who revealed that the country had "trained over 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers."
"We should not underestimate the importance of this training mission," she said.
Canada is also sending non-lethal aid to Ukraine and will share intelligence with the country as the United States and its allies continue to express fear over a hypothetical Russian 'invasion'.
Trudeau said on Wednesday that Canada had "always been a friend to Ukraine" and would "always be there with the necessary supports."
Revealing that Canada would also provide Ukraine with a $120 million loan, Trudeau said his country was "happy to be there to reinforce the resilience and strength of Ukraine's economy faced with Russian destabilization."
Defending Canada's decision not to follow the example of the US and UK and send lethal aid to Ukraine, Trudeau argued that "the solution to this tension should be diplomatic."
Last week, a small team of Canadian special forces was reportedly deployed to Ukraine to "develop evacuation plans for Canadian diplomatic personnel in the event of a full-scale invasion," according to Canada's Global News.
Moscow has repeatedly denied claims that it intends to invade Ukraine. Kiev's foreign minister Dmitry Kuleba on Wednesday also appeared to brush off reports of an "imminent" invasion, telling media that the number of Russian troops stationed near the border with Ukraine was "insufficient for a full-scale offensive."