Liberals commit $76 million to German-led fund for Ukraine

The funding is a part of the $1.6 billion in Ukraine military aid over the next five years announced in the latest federal budget.

Liberals commit $76 million to German-led fund for Ukraine
The Canadian Press / Spencer Colby
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The Trudeau Liberals will contribute $76 million in taxpayer funds to a German-led initiative to fundraise for Ukrainian air defence systems.

The German and Canadian defence ministers announced the funding on Friday.

Defense Minister Bill Blair and Boris Pistorius signed the letter of intent to contribute to the ambitious German project, which will pool money from willing international partners.

“This investment will help Ukraine defend itself against brutal attacks that have destroyed hospitals, power plants and apartment blocks and have killed thousands of innocent Ukrainians,” Blair said.

The funding is a part of the $1.6 billion in Ukraine military aid over the next five years announced in the latest federal budget.

The defence systems acquired through the fund will be delivered to Ukraine in the "coming weeks," Pistorius said.

Blair noted that Canada's acquiring the air defence systems that Germany is procuring and deploying through its fund would require several years.

Both he and Pistorius received direct communication from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, wherein he expressed the urgent need for air defence systems as Russia intensifies its missile assaults on civilian and energy infrastructure.

Canada had committed $406 million to purchase a National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) and missiles from the U.S. last year but is now turning to the German initiative due to production delays.

“What we have found is that [the procurement of new systems] is taking time, time that perhaps Ukraine may not have,” Blair said.

No estimate on when the U.S. system would be delivered was given when Blair was asked on Friday.

In February, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared — on the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion — that Canada would allocate slightly over $3 billion in military and financial support to Ukraine for 2024. Since the start of the war, Canada has pledged $4 billion in military assistance, with defence officials indicating that the majority of this aid has already been delivered.

The U.S. recently approved a $61 billion aid package to Ukraine, after months of delays.

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