Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Arrival of Canadian troops for Operation UNIFIER signals start of training mission in Ukraine

August 31, 2015 (YAVORIV, Ukraine) - As Canadian soldiers stepped from the CC-177 Globemaster aircraft and onto the tarmac at the Lviv International Airport, they took the first steps towards starting what promises to be a busy autumn. The soldiers arrived in theatre in two groups on 25 and 31 August. The majority of the soldiers came from 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG) based at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario. They will spend the next few months at the Ukrainian Armed Forces International Security and Peacekeeping Centre in Yavoriv, roughly 30 km from the Ukraine-Poland border.

The troops are arriving in Yavoriv as part of Operation UNIFIER, Canada's military training mission in Ukraine, where they will focus on teaching vital skills in partnership with Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers. “In short we're here to pass on our knowledge to our Ukrainian partners to ensure they have the skills to survive and thrive on the battlefield,” said Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Jason Guiney, the commander of Canada’s Joint Task Force Ukraine. “Our soldiers are ready for this mission and we’re looking forward to being in the field and working on the fundamentals of soldiering.”
While the largest component of the mission will be the delivery of tactical training in Yavoriv, there are other key elements of the mission such as working on more specialized training with Ukrainian troops around the country and in Canada. One of the specialized training activities will consist of an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and improvised explosive device disposal (IEDD) program at the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence Demining Centre in Kamyanets-Podilsky. Canadian engineers will be partnering with Ukrainian soldiers to enhance their existing Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) operations.
A team of eight CAF personnel in the field of EOD/IEDD pre-deployed on June 13 to liaise with Ukrainian military partners, observe training, and prepare training plans. “We’ve deployed extremely capable and operationally experienced C-IED instructors,” said the team leader for C-IED training. “We are going to partner with the Ukraine to enhance the capability of their C-IED teams and build on the extensive and impressive skills they already have displayed during our short time here.” Outside Kiev, Canadian Military Police trainers are delivering specialized courses on the use of force as well as investigation techniques to Ukrainian Military Police officers drawn from around the country.
Back in Yavoriv, LCol Guiney summarizes how the Task Force will approach the mission. “As the first boots on the ground we know we have to set the standard for future rotations of Canadian soldiers. I intend to work with our Ukrainian partners to ensure a suitable and sustainable training plan is established to help them succeed now, and in the future.