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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Canada Donates 800 Drones to Aid Ukraine Against Russia

Canada pledges support to Ukraine by donating 800 drones for reconnaissance missions, reinforcing defense efforts against Russia amidst ongoing conflict, marking two years since the invasion.

The Canadian government is donating 800 drones to help Ukraine in its war against Russia, Defense Minister Bill Blair announced Monday.

The drones can carry surveillance cameras to help in Ukraine’s reconnaissance missions, Blair said.

“These drones are going to help Ukraine’s front-line troops assess targets and threats quickly with accuracy and effectiveness,” he said during a press conference in Toronto.

He said the drones ensure detection of targets that are critical in Ukraine’s defense against Russia.

“Canada will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Blair said.

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The announcement comes at an opportune time as Blair earlier urged allies to step up aid to the beleaguered country as a $95 billion foreign aid bill in the US that includes about $60 billion to support Ukraine is bogged down in political fighting.

The drones are valued at CAN$95 million ($70.4 million) and the cost is covered under a CAN$500 million aid package announced by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this past summer. It brings the amount Canada has spent supporting Ukraine since the war began on Feb. 24, 2022 to CAN$9.7 billion.

The SkyRanger R70 drones are expected to be delivered in early April. Blair said he also wants to boost Canada’s production of military goods.

“The only response to a tyrant like (Russian President) Vladimir Putin is strength and resilience,” he said. “We will not forget Ukraine. We will never abandon Ukraine…until it wins this war.”​​​​​​​

This Saturday marks two years since Russia invaded Ukraine. The UN estimated in January that 10,000 civilians have died – many of them children – and 19,000 have been wounded.