Marco Levytsky, National Affairs Editor.
The delivery of the NASAMS air defence system that Canada purchased from the United States for Ukraine last March for $406 million is linked to its production schedule, says Ukraine’s Embassy in Canada.
“Ukraine highly values that Canada joined the air-defence coalition of our partners and procured NASAMS air defence system for Ukraine,” stated the Embassy in response to a question from New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
“Taking into account the limit of such systems available and the fact that their production takes time, the delivery of the system is linked to the capability of its production. We are looking forward to the delivery of the NASAMS system once its production is finished this year.
“Ukraine has repeatedly encouraged defence industries to scale up production to address the needs of Ukraine, as we continued to fight against Russian barbaric aggression,” it added.
NASAMS, (Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, also known as the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System is one of the most advanced air-defence systems, a badly needed shield against near-nightly Russian cruise missile and drone attacks on Ukrainian cities. Each system contains a radar unit, sensors, a mobile command centre and launchers that can be loaded with as many as six missiles each.
Ukraine already has at least one NASAMS battery, as well as two U.S.-produced Patriot anti-aircraft systems and some older Soviet units, protecting its cities. However, those have been increasingly challenged in recent weeks by Russian attacks that have seen dozens of missiles, some of them hypersonic, launched simultaneously in an effort to overwhelm Ukraine’s defences.
Canadian officials have said that delivery has been held up by the requirement of a foreign military sales agreement between the United States and Ukrainian governments, which is still under negotiation. When asked specifically about that agreement, the Embassy did not clarify.
“As the full-scale invasion of Ukraine approached its first anniversary, Ukraine indicated a need for air-defence systems,” Diana Ebadi, Press Secretary and Communications Advisor to Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence.
“Unlike requests for armour and artillery, which Canada is able to donate from its own stocks and domestic capacity, Canada neither owns nor has the manufacturing capability for any NASAMs. As a result, and in response to the Ukrainian request for NASAMs, Canada immediately entered into discussions with the US government and industry about the potential to acquire a system and related missiles.
“As soon as an opportunity was provided, Canada transferred funds to the United States for the purchase of the NASAMs in March of 2023. At every step of the way, Canada has done everything possible to expedite the delivery of this system. NASAMs are critically important to Ukraine’s ongoing fight against Russian aggression and Minister Blair believes that this system needs to be delivered as quickly as possible.
“Last week, Minister Blair met with (U.S) Ambassador (David) Cohen to discuss this matter and asked for his assistance in rapidly delivering the NASAMs to Ukraine. Minister Blair and Ambassador Cohen are in regular contact – and Canada has received assurances that the United States is working to get through the requisite processes as quickly as possible. The Minister is grateful for the Ambassador’s help on this important issue.
“The United States and Ukraine are currently working on finalizing the letter of acceptance, which outlines the donation and the expectations on its use (effectively an end user certificate) and confirms delivery timelines. The letter of acceptance is the final administrative step in the FMS process.
“To support Ukraine’s existing NASAMs, Canada has already provided Ukraine with 300 air-defence missiles, including AIM-120, AIM-7M/H, AIM-7P and AIM-9M-6 missiles.
“From day one of Russia’s invasion, Canada has been and continues to be an ardent supporter of Ukraine. Over $9.5 billion in aid, including $2.4 billion in military aid has been committed by Canada so far. That includes Leopard 2 main battle tanks, which were delivered in a matter of days, armoured combat support vehicles, anti-tank weapons, small arms, M777 howitzers and associated ammunition, high-resolution drone cameras, winter clothing and more,” she added.
Conservative Shadow Minister for National Defence James Bezan blamed the delay on the Liberal government.
“Despite Justin Trudeau’s rhetoric on Ukraine, he has failed to deliver the weapons and materiel that he has promised. The brutal Russian invasion has been going on for 694 days and as the world continues to become a more dangerous place, the Liberals have failed to increase production of 155 mm artillery rounds by even a single shell. Over a year ago, Trudeau announced Canada would send Ukraine a NASAM air defence system, but nobody seems to know where it is and what happened to the $406 million to buy it,” he told NP-UN in an email.
“Conservatives continue to support Ukraine as it defends itself from Vladimir Putin’s brutal war of aggression and will continue to hold the Trudeau government accountable for its hypocrisy.
“If Justin Trudeau really cared about Ukraine, he would have delivered on his promises, but Liberal promises are not worth the paper they are written on. They can’t deliver for Canadians, they can’t deliver for our Ukrainian allies, the Liberals are all talk and no action,” he added.