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Canada “monitoring” supply of components for Russian drones Owner of company which is chief supplier of parts lives in Toronto

Feb 1, 2023 | Canada, Featured, Politics, Ukrainian World Congress, Ukraine, Editorials

An undated handout image of a Orlan 10 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) published by the Russian Defence Ministry. Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

Marco Levytsky,
National Affairs Editor

The Government of Canada is “monitoring” the situation regarding the supply of component parts for the Russian Orlan-10 drones by a company owned by a Toronto resident.

“Members of our office recently met with representatives of the UCC to discuss Russia’s drone program, among other topics. We are monitoring the situation highlighted by the UCC, and we are committed to imposing severe costs on the Russian regime in response to its illegal invasion of Ukraine,” said Adrian Blanchard, Press Secretary for the Minister of Foreign Affairs in an email to New Pathway – Ukrainian News, January 31.

The meeting referred to was held January 27.
He was responding to an email sent by NP-UN to Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendocino and their respective offices and media spokepersons asking them whether they would be following up on the Ukrainian Canadian Congress’ request to look into the case of Anton Trofimov, a resident of East who owns Hong Kong based Asia Pacific Links Ltd. That company was recently identified by Reuters and the British Royal United Services Institute (RISU) as a chief supplier of components for the Russian Orlan-10 drones which are responsible for killing up to 100 Ukrainian soldiers per day, according to Ukrainian commanders.

The drones are used to locate Ukrainian troops and vehicles from medium altitudes and relay their positions for rapid artillery, missile and loitering munition strikes. When an Orlan-10 is overhead, Russian artillery response times can be as short as three minutes from target detection, leaving those targets almost no time to escape the fire zone.

“Disrupting these networks should, therefore, be considered a high priority for Western efforts to counter sanctions evasion, since reducing the number of Orlan-10s available to the Russian military by spring 2023 would significantly reduce overall force lethality and give the Ukrainian military more room for manoeuvre,” the RISU report stated in its conclusion.

“Given that much of this technology is ultimately manufactured and produced by companies domiciled in Western states, greater effort should be made to prevent diversion to Russia’s military manufacturers by intermediaries in the US, Europe, Hong Kong and China. To do so, governments should act against those individuals and entities responsible for diverting components to the AFRF (Armed Forces of the Russian Federation) and step-up efforts to monitor their flow to important transshipment hubs and suspicious third parties,” it added.

In a January 13 letter to Ministers Joly and Mendocino, UCC National President Alexandra Chyczij stated:

“It appears that the activity uncovered by the Reuters and RUSI investigations contravenes Special Economic Measures Act sanctions implemented by the Government of Canada. Moreover, it is also possible that this activity constitutes a criminal offence, in that it appears to be a wilful contravention of Canadian sanctions.

“The UCC therefore respectfully requests that the Departments of Public Safety and Global Affairs look into this matter and advise what consequences there will be for this activity and what action will be taken to ensure that it does not continue.”

New Pathway – Ukrainian News also called for action in our January 17 editorial.
Blanchard’s full statement is as follows:

“President Putin’s war on Ukraine is a war on freedom, on democracy, and on the rights of Ukrainians, and all people, to determine their own future. Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian regime’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. As Ukrainians bravely defend their country and our shared values, Canada remains steadfast in our support. We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to support the government and people of Ukraine, and hold Russia accountable for its brutal, unjustifiable invasion.

“In these efforts, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) has been a key ally for our government. Members of our office recently met with representatives of the UCC to discuss Russia’s drone program, among other topics. We are monitoring the situation highlighted by the UCC, and we are committed to imposing severe costs on the Russian regime in response to its illegal invasion of Ukraine. Since February 24th, 2022, we have imposed sanctions on over 1,500 individuals and entities, targeting defence industries, energy industries, financial institutions and the regime’s key enablers.

“We have also sanctioned Iranian entities who have provided Russian forces with drone technology and also have the blood of the Ukrainian people on their hands.

“Our objective with these sanctions is starve off the Russian war machine and suffocate the Putin regime. We will continue to impose strong sanctions on those responsible for the crimes taking place in Ukraine for as long as it takes.

“Contravening Canadian sanctions is a criminal offence. Canadian sanctions restrictions must be respected by all Canadians as well as by any individuals and entities located in Canada. Persons found to have willfully contravened or failed to comply with Canada’s sanctions are subject to fines or imprisonment.”

The response to NP-UN’s email was coordinated between both Foreign Affairs and Public Safety.
In a January 20 email, Minister Mendocino stated, “Thank you for forwarding the UCC letter to my direct attention.

“We will be responding to you in short order.”

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