Feds Launch Negotiations With Ukraine on Long-Term Security Agreement

Feds Launch Negotiations With Ukraine on Long-Term Security Agreement
Trainers from the Canadian Armed Forces instruct soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on building fortifications and defending a house in an urban environment as part of Operation UNIFIER in the United Kingdom on Aug. 1, 2023. (Canadian Armed Forces)
Noé Chartier

Canadian government officials have launched negotiations with their Ukrainian counterparts to reach a long term bilateral security agreement, in line with a commitment from G7 countries.

The meeting between officials took place on Aug. 25, according to a readout from the negotiations provided by Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

Canadian officials reportedly “reiterated Canada’s commitment to using all tools at our disposal to support Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The focus of the negotiations is said to be “pairing Canadian capabilities with Ukrainian needs, notably ensuring a sustainable force to defend Ukraine from Russian aggression now and in the future and strengthening Ukraine’s economic stability and resilience.”

When asked by The Epoch Times to provide details on this “pairing,” GAC said the negotiations will build on existing areas of collaboration.

They will “seek to identify areas where future Canadian military and security assistance, including equipment donations, over the longer-term can best meet future Ukrainian needs and requirements,” said GAC spokesperson Charlotte MacLeod.

Aside from military aid, providing additional financial and technical assistance is also on the menu.

Negotiations seek to obtain guarantees from Ukraine as it pertains to the improvement of its internal governance, which Canada says is necessary to advance the country’s aspiration to join the European Union and the NATO military alliance.

The readout says officials discussed Ukraine implementing reforms in the fields of law enforcement, the judiciary, the economy, and the fight against corruption.

The negotiations come on the heels of the G7 Joint Declaration following the July NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, which calls for setting up bilateral security agreements.

The declaration suggests that the assistance provided to Ukraine so far, over $100 billion in 2022, has not been adequately managed.

It says that in return for Western assistance, Ukraine is committed to “strengthen transparency and accountability measures with regard to partner assistance.”

The Vilnius declaration adds that Ukraine must undertake reforms to improve the rule of law and the respect of human rights and media freedoms, themes not mentioned in the GAC readout.

The G7 also wants to see defence reforms to strengthen civilian control over the military and “improving efficiency and transparency across Ukraine’s defense institutions and industry.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly told a Montreal radio station on Aug. 16 that Canada is behind the idea of Western countries separately seeking long term bilateral security agreements with Ukraine under a multilateral framework.

Ms. Joly said she was the first to mention the idea to Ukrainian President Volodymyr when she visited the country in February.

Canada presented a formula that incrementally got buy-in from other G7 countries and eventually became a consensus, she said.

Ms. Joly added that when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Ukraine in June, he was able to convince Mr. Zelenskyy of the idea, which was then announced in Vilnius.

“It’s a way for us to show our determination, our diplomatic power of influence, and at the same time to demonstrate some humility, because we can’t do everything on our own,” she said in French.

Ukrainian forces launched a counteroffensive against invading Russian troops in June in the east and south of the country, but have have made slow progress due to minefields and trenches, reports Reuters.
Canada has provided Ukraine various forms of support since Russia invaded in February 2022, including $1.8 billion committed in military assistance and $352.5 million in humanitarian assistance.