Members of the Canadian Army have been banned from joining thousands of foreigners who have flocked to Ukraine in recent weeks to fight the Russian invasion.
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary of Defense Staff. Francis Allen told the House of Commons Defense Commission Wednesday that the order was from General Wayne Eyre, chief of defense staff, and would apply to both full-time service members and part-time bookers. rice field.
“Therefore, for current CAF members, they are not allowed to be in the area, even if they are on vacation,” Allen told the Commission when he appeared with Defense Minister Anita Anand. Told.
The only exception is when their presence in Ukraine is specifically approved by Air, Allen added. She did not indicate if the Canadian Army is currently in Ukraine.
Canada currently has 250 military trainers in Ukraine, but the federal government said they withdrew to neighboring Poland shortly before Russian troops invaded Ukraine.
The government said these troops had been reappointed to provide humanitarian assistance, but Anand did not provide the Commission with up-to-date information because of operational security.
Last month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for the creation of an “International Brigades” to help fend off the Russian invasion that began on February 24.
Since then, thousands of foreigners, including many Canadians, have responded to the call for the weapon, despite federal warnings for all trips to Canada.
Foreign Minister Melanie Joly and Anand repeated these warnings on Wednesday when asked what kind of support the government would provide to Canadians captured by Russian troops.
Russia is reportedly threatening criminal charges against foreigners captured in combat in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Allen raised the ghost of Moscow trying to use a captured foreign fighter for promotional purposes.
“International affairs have identified the risks associated with entering a conflict zone at some point for Canadians, not only for their own physical security and protection, but also for disinformation,” she said. Told.
“Foreigners who may be engaged in this country can find it difficult and counterproductive to the work done there through disinformation campaigns that we know Russia is very easy to use. May be used in. “
Some experts also raised questions about the legality of Canadians fighting in wars in other countries, and potential security concerns given the existence of a far-right paramilitary organization in Ukraine.
The war in Ukraine will be the focus of the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in attendance.
Anand told the Commission that the government continues to resist Russian troops, including the possibility of purchasing more weapons for the Ukrainian troops, and is continuing to consider ways to support Ukraine.
“At this point, we are doing everything we can to help Ukrainian soldiers, such as exploring the possibility of sourcing from third-party suppliers. We also work with international partners to bring Ukrainian soldiers. We are contributing to bilateral support efforts, “she says. she said.
By Lee Berthiaume