New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
The Conservatives are calling upon the Liberal government to send thousands of surplus CRV7 rockets, slated for demolition, to Ukraine.
“Since 2018, common sense Conservatives have been calling on the Trudeau Government to do more to support Ukraine so they can defend their country from Russia’s illegal invasion. This includes both sending surplus weapons to Ukraine’s armed forces and replacing Russian oil and gas with Canadian energy for our closest allies, which creates jobs for Canadian workers instead of fueling Putin’s war machine,” said federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre in a statement released February 2.
“Justin Trudeau has tried to divide and distract Canadians in his rhetoric on Ukraine, but he has failed to deliver the military equipment that Ukraine actually needs. He has failed to increase the production of much-needed 155 mm artillery shells despite promising Ukrainians he would do so, and has not sent the NASAMS air defence system, even though he announced he would over a year ago. Ukrainians can’t defend themselves with photo ops.
“It’s time for less talk and more action. Currently, the Canadian Armed Forces is sitting on a stockpile of 83,000 CRV7 rockets that the Trudeau government has slated for disposal. Ukraine has asked the Government of Canada to provide them with these surplus weapons. Instead of making Canadians pay millions of dollars to decommission these weapons, common sense Conservatives are calling on the Trudeau government to give these weapons to Ukraine who can use them in the defence of their sovereignty.
Poilievre also called upon the government to replace any donated weapons with new tanks, howitzers, munitions, weapons and other equipment and ammunition for the Canadian Armed Forces.
At the ethnic media round table in Brampton on Monday, February 5, Poilievre told NP-UN that the Conservatives “would not have suggested this donation had it not first been requested by the Ukrainian government.” He said that the Conservative Party has had multiple requests from the Ukrainian officials for these missiles.
The Department of National Defence (DND) acknowledged on February 2 that it still has the rockets and they’re being considered as part of a possible future military donation package. The problem — according to a defence official who spoke to CBC News on background — is that while Canada still has tens of thousands of the rockets and their motors, not all of them have warheads.
A spokesperson for Defence Minister Bill Blair said that before sending equipment to Ukraine, “we coordinate closely with Ukraine to ensure that any donation would meet its military needs, and we examine the operational effectiveness of the equipment.
“We are following this same process for the CAF’s stock of CRV7 rockets, purchased decades ago. In particular, we are pursuing testing to ensure that this equipment is operationally effective and safe to transport to Ukraine before any potential donation,” Diana Ebadi, Press Secretary and Communications Advisor at the Office of the Minister of National Defence, told New Pathway Ukrainian News.
“In the meantime, Canada has donated over 300 air defence missiles to Ukraine, and continues to work urgently with the United States to ensure the delivery of the pledged NASAMS system as soon as possible. Minister Blair has met with Ambassador Cohen to discuss this matter. They are in regular contact, and Canada has received assurances that the United States is working to get through the requisite process as quickly as possible,” she added.
Supporters of Ukraine have been campaigning online for the donation of the CRV7s and 12 retired army Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) defence systems.
Those supporters have been told that as many as 8,000 of the rockets still have warheads in good condition and could be donated immediately, while the rest could be used for spare parts, according to CBC News.
In his response to NP-UN’s question at the round table on February 5, Pierre Poilievre noted that the Ukrainian government has indicated that these missiles can be refurbished or repurposed in a way that is “useful to fight the Russian aggressor”.
Designed during the Cold War and produced by Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg the CRV7 was considered one of the most powerful air-to-ground attack rockets of its time and was still in service with allied nations during the Afghan war.
They can be fired from both fixed-wing warplanes and attack helicopters and come with different kinds of warhead — one of which, the 7.3 kilogram type, is capable of piercing armoured or heavily reinforced targets.
Ebadi added that “Poilievre is trying to cover up his weak stance on Ukraine by distracting Canadians today.”
“While the Conservatives abandon Ukraine in its time of need — including by opposing the Canada-Ukraine free trade deal being considered in the House of Commons today — our government’s support for Ukraine has been steadfast. We have committed over $9.5 billion in assistance to Ukraine, including over $2.4 billion in military aid.
“At every step of the way, we have examined all possible military donations from our own stocks — and have made significant donations of CAF equipment including M777 howitzers and Leopard 2 tanks,” she said.