Friday, October 7 2022

Ukraine has presented Canada with a new list of its military hardware needs as its military launches a counteroffensive against Russia in the east, CBC News has learned.

The request was contained in a letter received by Defense Minister Anita Anand from her Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov, nearly three weeks ago, two defense sources with knowledge of the matter said.

It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled again on Wednesday that his country is ready to hold annexation referendums on territory it has conquered in Ukraine, and will partially mobilize with the call of 300 000 reservists who have military experience.

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy’s government is asking Canada for more armored vehicles, especially the latest version of the light armored vehicle known as the LAV VI.

A Canadian LAV (light armored vehicle) at its forward operating base near Panjwaii, Afghanistan, 26 November 2006. (Bill Graveland/The Canadian Press)

Last June, the Liberal government promised to deliver 39 armored personnel carriers (ACSVs) to Ukraine — vehicles that have no weapons. The first of these vehicles were recently shipped by the manufacturer, GDLS Land Systems Canada of London, Ontario.

The Ukrainians say they need a combat vehicle “with a 25-millimeter chaingun”, which is the main armament of a LAV VI and the former LAV III (now decommissioned), which the army Canadian was using in Afghanistan.

Ukraine is also asking Canada to draw back on its stockpile of M-777 howitzers and provide more shells and winter clothing for its troops, the sources said.

Ukraine wants to know Canada is still willing: sources

Canada set aside $500 million in the recent budget for arms shipments to Ukraine. This money has now been spent.

Other NATO allies, including the United States and Germany, continue to purchase and ship weapons. Ukraine is awaiting a signal from Canada that it will continue to step up its efforts, the sources said.

A spokesperson for Anand would only say that dialogue continues between the two countries.

“On a bilateral basis and through the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, Minister Anand remains in close contact with Minister Reznikov on Ukraine’s most pressing security needs,” said Daniel Minden in a written statement.

“Canada will continue to support Ukraine and is exploring various options to continue providing full military assistance to Ukraine.

Minden pointed out that since February 2022, Canada has committed $626 million in military aid to Ukraine.

A Ukrainian soldier shows a V-sign on top of a vehicle in Izium, Kharkiv region, on September 13. Ukrainian troops pressured the retreating Russian forces, pushing deeper into occupied territory and sending more Kremlin troops fleeing in the face of a counteroffensive that dealt a heavy blow to Moscow’s military prestige. (Kostiantyn Liberov/Associated Press)

The request for additional military equipment comes after the Kremlin announced that four regions in occupied Ukraine were asking for referendums on joining Russia.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly and Bob Rae, Canada’s representative to the United Nations, have condemned Russia’s latest actions, calling the referendum process a deception.

“You can’t hold a referendum in a country under military occupation,” Rae said in New York in response to a question from a Russian reporter. “It’s a joke. The Russians should shake their heads.”

Ihor Michalchyshyn, executive director of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, said Moscow holding referendums in the region it occupies would be illegal under international law.

The referendum push is also a direct response to Ukraine’s recent battlefield successes, making Ukraine’s call for more weapons even more critical, he added.

“From the beginning, we have been urging and asking Canadians to understand that their sense of urgency must be heightened – that this is…a live war that unfolds on the scale of days and hours. , not on the scale of weeks and months,” Michalchyshyn said, adding that none of the armored vehicles promised by Canada have yet been delivered.

“I think Canada will lose credibility if we can’t deliver on those commitments, those promises, in the near future.”

Christian Leuprecht, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, said it was in Canada’s national interest to give Ukraine what it needed.

“While Canadian support has been modest, Canada, relative to a number of other allies, has actually been quite good at quickly delivering on the promises it has made,” he said.

The arms industry is not prepared for a major war

The problem, he said, was that the allies and the defense industry as a whole were unprepared for a full-scale war.

“Since the end of the Cold War, not only have the allies significantly restructured their armed forces, but they no longer hold the stocks they had before,” Leuprecht said.

“And so, effectively, most of what you ended up giving away today is from your current stockpile. So that’s gear that you’re really going to run out of.”

Most of the items Canada has already donated, including four 155 millimeter howitzers and anti-tank weapons, have been taken directly from Canadian Army stocks. At the end of the NATO summit in June, Trudeau publicly pledged to replace this equipment.

But a recent report from the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies questioned how long allies — including the United States — can continue to dip into their own inventories without an increase in defense manufacturing. .

The Pentagon has discussed with the defense industry an increase in production.

“The general industry position, however, is that DOD should make multi-year acquisition commitments to justify industry investment in surge capabilities,” said the report, released last Friday and authored by Mark F. Cancian, senior adviser to the Think Tank’s International Security Program.

An earlier study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies – written before major hostilities began in Ukraine – found the defense procurement system to be “fragile” and warned that replacing “inventories in the event of emergency” for most items would take many years.

“The problem is that the defense industrial base is sized for peacetime production rates,” said the report, written in January.

“Surge capacity was seen as a waste, buying factory capacity that was not intended to be used. Converting civilian industry to wartime production is theoretically possible but a long process. During World War II, this conversion took two to three years in a fully mobilized society and economy.

An M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) in action in Ukraine. (Pavlo Narozhnyy/Reuters)

The report warns that certain products are now rare among Ukraine’s allies and not easy to produce quickly: rocket artillery (the MLRS and HIMARS systems), the M-777 155 millimeter howitzers and the Javelin anti-tank.

“It would appear that the United States has donated approximately one-third of its inventory to Ukraine, and reports have emerged that the military is concerned that it will have enough for other conflicts,” the latest report from the report said. Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Surprisingly, the August 19 weapons package includes an additional 1,000 Javelins, despite the low inventory. The current production rate is approximately 1,000 per year. Although the DOD is working to increase this number, it it will be many years before the inventory is fully replenished.”

Replacing stocks of M-777 155-millimeter howitzers could be particularly difficult, as production of these artillery pieces ceased years ago.

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