Anand meets with Ukrainian Defense Minister as the country prepares for a possible invasion



Defense Minister Anita Anand on Monday received an updated assessment of Ukraine’s military needs during a meeting with the country’s assaulted defense minister.

And while neither Ukraine nor the federal government say exactly what Oleksii Reznikov asked Canada to do, beyond the package of non-lethal equipment promised by Ottawa last week, there was an air of urgency at his in-person meeting as in Western nations and the Ukrainian government continues to publicly disagree on whether Russian military action is imminent.

Global Affairs Canada announced on Sunday that it would remove all non-essential staff from the Canadian embassy in Kiev.

On Monday in Kiev for a turbulent diplomatic visit, Anand did not say what caused a new evacuation. Some families of Canadian diplomats were withdrawn from Ukraine last week.

Ukraine continues to demand defensive weapons from the international community.

Defense Minister Anita Anand in Ukraine to meet with representatives of the Ukrainian government on January 31, 2022. (Murray Brewster / CBC)

The United States last week delivered 79 tons of security aid to Ukraine, the third such package to arrive in recent weeks. The first batch of equipment, which arrived on January 22, included 90 tons of lethal weapons and ammunition.

“Ukraine needs weapons of defense to strengthen its ability to withstand external aggression and deter Russia from power gambling,” said a summary of the office of Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky. “Thus, increasing Ukraine’s military strength strengthens its negotiating position and reduces the risks of greater military escalation.”

The promised aid package from Canada, some of which has already arrived in Ukraine, includes non-lethal equipment and an expansion and expansion of the military training mission.

Anand said he has not placed any restrictions on what Ukraine can ask of Canada, and arms shipments are still an option.

It seems that Ukraine has given a clear assessment of its needs. Anand said he should return that list to the cabinet.

“It would be prudent in light of the very intense and sensitive security situation at the moment to discuss it first with my cabinet counterparts and with the Prime Minister,” Anand said.

Ukraine already has a healthy arms industry with sales exceeding $ 1.3 billion last year, an increase of 24% in one year. But defense experts say the country lacks high-end military equipment and needs anti-aircraft weapons.

SEE: The Minister of Defense visits Ukraine

Defense Minister visits Ukraine amid preparations for a possible Russian invasion

Defense Minister Anita Anand has arrived in Ukraine for a two-day support visit while warnings of a possible Russian attack continue, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is urging his allies to avoid panic in his village. 2:03

Anand said that while she could not go into detail, she and Reznikov “talked about cybersecurity in particular and how important it is to make sure cyber networks are secure.”

The Ukrainian government was recently hit by a massive cyberattack. Canada’s current aid package includes the promise to share with Ukraine the experience of the Communications Security Center (CSE), Canada’s signal intelligence and cybersecurity agency.

Global Affairs Canada was also hit by a massive cyberattack a week ago, while Foreign Minister Melanie Joly was conducting a round of diplomacy in Ukraine. Federal officials have not pointed the finger at Russia or the Moscow-backed private hackers.

Anand, who is the minister responsible for CSE, was not prepared to blame when asked on Monday, saying only that she remains concerned about Canada’s cyber defenses.

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