(MENAFN) In a new budget report unveiled by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Canada has committed to providing more than USD800 million in military aid to Ukraine by the end of 2023. The Fall Economic Statement, published on Tuesday, outlines government spending for the upcoming years, projecting a substantial allocation for military support to Kiev during the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
While this initial commitment demonstrates Canada's significant financial backing for Ukraine's security, the budget report raises concerns with projections of major cuts to future assistance. The document indicates a sharp decrease, with military aid expected to be more than halved to USD318 million in 2024, further reduced to USD197 million in 2025, and ultimately cut to zero for subsequent years.
The report highlights a shift in Canada's approach to aid provision, signaling potential changes in the country's long-term commitment to Ukraine's security. Notably, officials from both Canada and Ukraine have been engaged in negotiations for longer-term assistance, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously announced in July that efforts were underway to establish "specific, bilateral, long-term security commitments" for Ukraine. However, the progress and details of these negotiations remain unclear.
In addition to the focus on Ukraine, Tuesday's budget statement disclosed that Canada plans to allocate approximately USD2.6 billion to Operation REASSURANCE over the next six years. This operation, described as Canada's largest overseas mission, contributes to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe. Currently based in Latvia, Operation REASSURANCE involves around 1,000 Canadian troops, but the military is poised to deploy a full brigade-sized formation, comprising up to 5,000 soldiers, along with a squadron of 15 Leopard 2 battle tanks.
As Canada navigates the delicate balance between providing ongoing support to Ukraine and managing its commitments to broader international security efforts, the evolving landscape of Canadian foreign policy comes under scrutiny, particularly in light of the projected reductions in future military aid to Ukraine.
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