National News

Canada sending military supplies to Ukraine

By The Canadian Press

TRENTON, Ont. - Defence Minister Rob Nicholson says Canada is sending non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine to help the country protect its eastern border against Russian aggression.

The announcement was made at a military base in Trenton, Ont., today where a Hercules military plane loaded with "non-kinetic military equipment" — the first in a series of military transport flights — is set to take off from.

It came just hours after NATO's secretary general told leading officials in Ukraine that the military alliance stood ready to support the country with advisers and assistance.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen stopped short of committing to direct assistance in Ukraine's ongoing conflict, but said NATO would intensify its co-operation with Ukraine on defence planning and reform.

Violence in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russia rebels erupted a month after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March.

Ukraine and Western countries, including Canada, have accused Moscow of backing the separatists with weapons and soldiers, a claim the Russian government has repeatedly denied.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has frequently said Russia's occupation of the Crimean Peninsula and provocative military activity in eastern Ukraine is a "grave concern" to Canada and the world.

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