Canada’s missiles could aid Ukraine’s military
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 07/04/2022 (427 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Canadians may have been alarmed to see increased defence spending as a priority in the federal budget tabled by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government. At a time when government needs to address climate change, and while the nation continues to battle COVID-19, defence might not be perceived as a priority. However, the war in Ukraine has changed government priorities in countries all over the world, including in Canada.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin brashly invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the world was aghast. Months, if not years, of warnings from western nations had done little to discourage Mr. Putin’s reckless lust to reclaim Ukraine as part of Russia. Now, news headlines remind us daily that Russia is waging a ruthless, remorseless war on neighbouring Ukraine.
Mr. Putin has failed to achieve the swift and decisive victory he so clearly anticipated. Although it is encouraging that Ukrainians have been able to stall the Russian invasion, even forcing a retreat in some regions, there are increasing signs this conflict could — absent a negotiated ceasefire — continue for a very long time to come. That possibility should motivate Canada, and other western nations, to be as generous as possible with military support.
To date, Canada has stepped up as a contributor of “lethal” military aid, sending or readying to send rocket launchers, grenades, anti-tank weapons, body armour, helmets, gas masks and night-vision devices, as well as two J-130 tactical aircraft and crew to deliver aid and support to Ukrainian troops.
Those contributions were enhanced in the fine details of Thursday’s federal budget, which included $8 billion in new defence spending over the next five years, including $500 million this year to provide lethal and non-lethal military aid to Ukraine.
However, Canada is still balking at some requests. This week, the National Post reported a group of defence suppliers asked the Liberal government to donate a portion of Canada’s modest stockpile of Harpoon missiles, a ground-to-air anti-ship weapon that could be used to help prevent Russian forces from mounting an amphibious assault on Ukraine’s Odesa region along the coast of the Black Sea.
There have been concerns for some time that Russia would attempt to destabilize Ukrainian forces by launching a new assault on Ukraine’s southern coast. As Canada is actually in the process of phasing out the use of Harpoon missiles, the time is right to add these weapons to Canada’s total contribution to Ukraine.
As Canada is actually in the process of phasing out the use of Harpoon missiles, the time is right to add these weapons to Canada’s total contribution to Ukraine.
Canada is not a military power, and providing weapons does not equate to a commitment to provide boots on the ground in Ukraine. Canada — along with many nations, including the United States — is extremely reluctant to get directly involved in this conflict. The presence of troops on the front lines could trigger the eruption of a third world war, which would carry the very real possibility of nuclear weapons being brought into play.
The best possible result in this conflict is that providing as much support as possible will help Ukraine turn back Russian troops, pushing them back across the border they violated in late February. To achieve that outcome, Canada and other western nations will have to operate outside their traditional comfort zones when it comes to providing military support.
The best possible result in this conflict is that providing as much support as possible will help Ukraine turn back Russian troops, pushing them back across the border they violated in late February.
Absent that support to Ukraine, Mr. Putin could very likely use the embattled country as a foothold to launch other military advances in eastern Europe, or even in the Arctic, where Canada is ever-vigilant about Russian incursions. Those are not outcomes the world, including Canada, can allow to happen.
Updated on Thursday, April 7, 2022 11:47 PM CDT: Changes Russian spelling of Odessa to Ukrainian spelling of Odesa.