Canada has announced extending its military missions in both Ukraine and Iraq, two of the world's flashpoint conflicts.
"I'm very confident this the support Ukraine needs,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in remarks on Monday defending the decision of the renewed military mission, which will now extend to the end of March 2022. The mission's mandate was due to expire at the end of the month.
"This is a mission, actually, that allows us to meet Ukraine's needs and to offer new forms of support as Ukraine needs them," Freeland said, indicating demands by the all-party House of Commons defence committee which called on the government, late last year, to "look for opportunities to expand the type of training and support" provided by the Canadian military to Ukrainian forces.
Yurii Nykytiuk, a spokesman for the Ukrainian embassy in Ottawa, said his government appreciates the extension of the military mission because "it helps save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers" and assists his country in pursuing its goal of one day joining NATO.
"It wouldn't be fair for me to say that we do not need more instructors in Ukraine, but the job the Canadian Armed Forces is doing is a tremendous job, and we value it very much," he said.
The second mission being extended, until end of March 2021, involves a training and advisory deployment in Iraq.
The extension of the Iraq mission comes as no surprise. Last summer, the Liberal government agreed to lead the NATO training mission headquartered in Baghdad.
Canada is providing 250 soldiers, a headquarters, security forces and transportation to other alliance members training Iraqi forces to handle security on their own.
Canada first deployed troops and fighter jets to the campaign against the Islamic State in the fall of 2014 after the extremist group captured vast swaths of territory in both Syria and Iraq.