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Canada-Ukraine relations

Canada and the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Learn about Canada’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Bilateral relations

Canada is represented in Ukraine by the Embassy of Canada to Ukraine, in Kyiv. Ukraine is represented in Canada by an embassy in Ottawa, consulates general in Toronto and Edmonton and an honorary consulate in Vancouver.

On December 2, 1991, Canada became the first Western country to recognize Ukraine’s independence. Canada and Ukraine have enjoyed a close relationship since. Our bilateral relationship is strengthened by warm people-to-people ties, rooted in the Ukrainian-Canadian community of 1.3 million people.

Canada’s response to the illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we led international support for the people of Ukraine. We continue to support Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea and its support for insurgents in eastern Ukraine.

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Sanctions

In coordination with partners and allies, Canada has imposed sanctions against hundreds of Russian and Ukrainian individuals and entities in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.

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Trade relations

In 2022, Canada’s merchandise exports to Ukraine totalled $150.2 million, and merchandise imports from Ukraine totalled $271.2 million. The top 3 exports to Ukraine were motor vehicles and parts, fish and seafood, and pharmaceutical products. Canada’s top imports from Ukraine were animal and vegetable fats and oils, iron and steel, and electrical machinery and equipment. In 2021, the stock of Canadian direct investment in Ukraine stood at $114M (total book value).

The Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA), which entered into force on August 1, 2017, represents an important milestone in the Canada-Ukraine relationship.

On January 27, 2022, Canada and Ukraine jointly announced the launch of negotiations to modernize the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement, further reinforcing the rules-based international trading system and strengthening Canada’s connectivity to the region.

Officials conducted negotiations from May 2022 to April 2023 leading to the signature of a joint declaration announcing the substantive conclusion of CUFTA-modernization negotiations on April 11, 2023. On September 22, 2023, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed the final agreement in Ottawa. Both parties are now aiming to complete parliamentary processes as soon as possible for the agreement to enter into force.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought significant disruptions to international trade. Canadian companies have been forced to adapt and mitigate risks in response to the added strain of this conflict on international supply chains and global investment.

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Development and humanitarian assistance

Since 1991, Canada has been one of Ukraine’s leading bilateral development assistance partners. Between 2014 and 2021, Canada committed more than $250 million in development assistance. Since 2022, Canada has committed an additional $96 million in development assistance to support Ukraine’s emerging needs in the face of Russia’s illegal invasion.

Our bilateral development assistance targets the following 3 action areas of the Feminist International Assistance Policy:

  1. Inclusive governance: Focuses on strengthening the effectiveness, transparency and accountability of Ukraine’s government and justice system, supporting greater citizen participation in decision making and upholding human rights.
  2. Growth that works for everyone: Fosters inclusive economic growth and shared economic prosperity through the promotion of entrepreneurship and job creation, particularly in agriculture.
  3. Empowerment of women and girls: Strengthens the rights, protection and empowerment of Ukrainian women and girls with support for women’s rights organizations, political participation and decision making, and accountability efforts.

Canada has also committed more than $369 million in humanitarian funding since the crisis began in 2014. This includes $320 million in 2022-23 to respond to urgent needs such as food, safe drinking water, sanitation services, emergency health care, and temporary shelters.

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Operations

Canada is committed to using its international assistance to support Ukraine’s goals for greater Euro-Atlantic integration. We also support securing Ukraine’s future as a democratic, rules-based state that delivers security, prosperity and freedom for all of its citizens.

Since January 2014, we’ve committed more than $890 million in multi-faceted support to Ukraine, using a range of instruments including the following:

Military cooperation

Operation UNIFIER is the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) military training and capacity-building mission in Ukraine, launched in September 2015.

In addition to contributions through Operation UNIFIER, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) cooperate with the Security Forces of Ukraine through the Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP). More than 3,000 military personnel have received training through the MTCP since 1993. Moving forward, Ukraine is expected to be the single largest beneficiary of funding under the MTCP.

Peace and Stabilization Operations Program

Since 2014, Canada has committed more than $100 million in programming in support of peace and stabilization in Ukraine through the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs).

PSOPs programming mainly focuses on security sector and defence reform initiatives; police reform efforts; peacebuilding and the peaceful resolution of the conflict; and supporting the women, peace and security agenda. Through PSOPs, Canada also provides support to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE’s) Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine to strengthen ongoing reporting of the security situation, including ceasefire violations, and to facilitate dialogue between parties to the conflict. Canada also supported Ukraine’s COVID-19 response effort by providing personal protective equipment to the National Police, as well as ventilators to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence for hospitals.

Since 2016, PSOPs has supported police reform in Ukraine, with the establishment of the Department of the Patrol Police within the National Police of Ukraine as a fully professional and democratic policing institution. PSOPs programming has also provided direct support to the establishment of Ukraine’s first national-level police training academy, as well as to the establishment in 2018 of the Ukrainian Association of Women in Law Enforcement.

International Police Peacekeeping and Peace Operations Program

Since March 2015, Canada has deployed Canadian civilian police officers to Ukraine through the International Police Peacekeeping and Peace Operations Program, which is jointly managed by GAC (through PSOPs), the RCMP and Public Safety Canada. The program supports Ukrainian police reform through police deployments to 2 missions:

Throughout 2021, Canada deployed an average of 16 police officers to Ukraine. This increased to 24 officers deployed in early 2022. Police officers are deployed to enhance police training in the investigation of and response to gender-based violence, implement community policing models and improve internal accountability and oversight mechanisms. Canadian officers have delivered training to the Territorial Community Policing Officer Program and coordinated the development of a new course on community policing for Vasyl’ Stus Donetsk National University, among other initiatives.

Women, peace and security

The women, peace and security (WPS) agenda and Canada’s National Action Plan on WPS are central to Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. The Action Plan aims to increase women’s participation in peace and security efforts and advance gender equality through Canada’s programming, policy and advocacy efforts. In Ukraine, Canada supports the implementation of the WPS agenda through, for example, support to Ukraine’s National Action Plan on WPS and initiatives to increase the role of women in the security and defence sectors.

Partnerships and organizations

To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Ukraine work in multilateral forums, such as:

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