Ottawa will also spend billions expanding its military presence in Eastern Europe over the coming years
The Canadian government will devote more than $800 million to military aid for Ukraine by the end of 2023, according to a new budget report. However, the document suggests major cuts to security assistance going forward.
Published on Tuesday by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, the Fall Economic Statement outlines government spending for the next several years, forecasting a total of $816 million in military aid for Kiev for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
Steep cuts are projected for future assistance, however, with the budget report indicating that aid will be more than halved to $318 million in 2024, further reduced to $197 million in 2025, and slashed to zero for subsequent years.
Though Ottawa has largely disbursed aid to Kiev upon request, on a case-by-case basis, officials from both countries are negotiating longer-term assistance. In July, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared that Canada and other G7 countries were working toward “specific, bilateral, long-term security commitments” for Ukraine, though it’s unclear what progress has been made on the arrangement.
Tuesday’s budget statement also noted that, over the next six years, Canada will devote some $2.6 billion to Operation REASSURANCE, its largest overseas mission, which “contributes to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe,” according to the Defense Ministry. Based in Latvia, the mission currently involves around 1,000 Canadian troops, though the military will soon deploy a full brigade-sized formation (up to 5,000 soldiers), along with a squadron of 15 Leopard 2 battle tanks.
The financial report also noted that Ottawa will spend some $29 million over the next three years on “disposing of property seized from those under sanction because of the war in Ukraine,” according to CBC, which noted that much of those assets are set to be transferred to Kiev.
Canada has committed more than $2.4 billion in direct military aid to Ukraine since fighting broke out with Russia in February 2022, including a variety of heavy weapon systems, munitions, and vehicles. The Canadian military has also trained thousands of Ukrainian troops, both before and during the current round of hostilities.
Moscow has condemned all foreign arms transfers to Kiev, arguing that they will only prolong the conflict and do little to deter its military aims. The Kremlin has argued that Western countries are already de facto parties to the conflict, given the steady flow of weapons, training, intelligence, and logistics support to Ukrainian forces.
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