More Canadian weapons, including heavy artillery, arrive in Ukraine

The federal government announced that an unspecified number of M777 howitzers and the ammunition they require have now been sent

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OTTAWA – Heavy artillery Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised Ukraine earlier this week has now arrived in the war-torn country, as it stares down a new offensive from Russian troops.

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The government announced that an unspecified number of M777 howitzers and the ammunition they require have now been sent to Ukraine. The long-range guns are being taken out of the Canadian Army’s stocks and will be replaced in the future. Trudeau has declined to provide details of the shipment when asked this week, citing operational security.

The weapon can be towed behind a heavy vehicle and is accurate up to 30 kilometres away, according to the government. The defence department would not reveal the exact number of guns being sent, but CBC news reported it was four.

Canadian forces first received a small number of the weapons in 2006, during the war in Afghanistan and ordered 25 of them in 2009 bringing the total complement to 37.

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After their assault on the country’s capital Kyiv stalled, Russian forces pulled back into eastern Ukraine in recent weeks and have launched a new offensive aimed at capturing other parts of the country.

Rustam Minnekayev, deputy commander of Russia’s central military district, was quoted by Russian state news agencies as saying full control over southern Ukraine would give it access to a breakaway, Russian-occupied part of Moldova in the west.

That would cut off Ukraine’s entire coastline and mean pushing hundreds of miles west beyond current lines, past the major Ukrainian cities of Mykolaiv and Odesa.

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Canada’s Defence Minister Anita Anand said the additional weapons are part of Canada’s ongoing contribution.

“As Ukrainians fight to defend their sovereignty, freedom, and independence, Canada remains committed to continuing to provide Ukraine with the military equipment that it needs to fight and win this war.”

The government has spent $118 million so far sending weapons to Ukraine and committed in the budget to spending an additional $500 million. The government has also delivered humanitarian aid and made major loans to the Ukrainian government.

On Friday, they also pledged more ammunition for the Carl Gustaf anti-tank weapon and said it was finalizing contracts to deliver armoured vehicles to Ukrainian forces.

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The U.S. government’s most recent weapons shipment to Ukraine included 90 of the M777 artillery weapons, as well as drones and other weapons.

Alexandra Chyczij, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, said the weapons were welcome.

“The horrors Russia is inflicting, the deliberate, systemic crimes against humanity that Russia is committing – at Mariupol, Bucha, Chernihiv, Kharkiv  and countless other places – show that Russia is committing genocide and trying to annihilate the Ukrainian people,” she said.” We are grateful that Canada and allies continue to provide the weapons and materiel the courageous Ukrainian Armed Forces need to defeat Russia.”

– with additional reporting by Reuters 

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