Operation Unifier

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Operation Unifier
Part of the War in Donbas
Independence Day military parade in Kyiv 2017 58.jpg
DateApril 14, 2015 to March 2022
International Peacekeeping and Security Centre, Starychi, Ukraine
Status Ongoing
In support of:
Supported by:
 Donetsk People's Republic
 Luhansk People's Republic
Commanders and leaders
Stephen Harper
Jason Kenney
Thomas J. Lawson
Justin Trudeau
Harjit Sajjan
Jonathan Vance
Petro Poroshenko
Volodymyr Zelensky
Vladimir Putin

Operation Unifier, also known as Canadian Armed Forces Joint Task Force-Ukraine, is the Canadian Armed Forces contribution to the security of Ukraine in coordination with the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It was begun in light of fomentation by the Russians of separatist sentiments in the Donbas and Luhansk and Crimean regions of Ukraine after the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine.


The operation is part of Multinational Joint Commission, a larger body composed of the U.S., UK, Canada, Sweden, Poland, Lithuania and Denmark aimed at reforming Ukraine's military. The first Canadian troops to participate in the operation come from the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment.[1][2] The Canadian contribution of training is provided by about 200 Canadian soldiers, rotating every 6 months. As of November 2018 there have been 230 course sessions and more than 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been trained under Operation Unifier.[3]


Canada made its first delivery of non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine on November 28, 2014. This equipment mainly included cold protective clothing and was delivered to Boryspil International Airport by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).[4] On December 8, the Minister of National Defence of Canada, Harjit Sajjan, announced that his country has signed an agreement with Ukraine for joint military training and for strengthening its military capabilities.[citation needed] On January 10, 2015, the first shipment of non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine by sea arrived at the port of Odessa.[4] On April 14, 2015, Canada announced the deployment of a CAF task force, known as Joint Task Force Ukraine or Operation Unifier, with nearly 200 Canadian Armed Forces stationed in Ukraine until March 31, 2017. The military training mission officially began on 14 September 2015 at the International Center for Security and Peacekeeping in Starychi and the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense Demining Center in Kamianets-Podilskyi.[4]


On March 6, 2017, the Government of Canada announced the extension of Operation Unifier until the end of March 2019.[4]

On March 18, 2019, the Government of Canada announced the extension of Operation Unifier until the end of March 2022.[4]


According to lobbyists from the NATO Association of Canada, Operation Unifier's broader mission includes:[5]

  • Helping the development of the region
  • Maintaining Security
  • Maintaining Democracy
  • Providing Humanitarian Aid
  • Promoting economic stability and growth


  • Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Troop (October 2019-28 April 2020)[6]
  • Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Simpson (28 April 2020-)[7]
  • Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Heer (since 6 October 2020)[8]

Ukrainian diaspora response[edit]

Ukrainian diaspora in Canada positively welcomed the Canadian government's contribution to reform the Ukrainian military. A number of community appreciation events were held in Toronto, Edmonton and Winnipeg for CAF members who have served in Operation Unifier.[9][10][11] On July 1, 2018, the Band of the Ceremonial Guard performed during its daily guard mounting ceremony on Parliament Hill, a Ukrainian military march known as "Shchob shabli ne braly, shchob Kuli mynaly" (Щоб шаблі не брали, щоб кулі минали) in front of members of the Ukrainian diaspora during the ceremony, as a sort of response to the operation.[12]

See also[edit]

List of Canadian military operations


  1. ^ "Current operations - Operation Unifier". 2015-07-31. Retrieved 1 Aug 2018.
  2. ^ "Canadian troops arrive in Ukraine to train soldiers fighting separatists". Retrieved 3 Aug 2018.
  3. ^ Defence, National (2018-12-06). "Commander of the Canadian Army visits soldiers on Operation Unifier". gcnws. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Operation Unifier". Government of Canada. 2015-07-31.
  5. ^ Ava-Pointon, Isabelle (28 May 2018). "Why Operation Unifier Matters". NATO Association of Canada.
  6. ^ https://www.mil.gov.ua/en/news/2019/10/11/a-new-commander-of-the-operation-unifier-visited-national-land-forces-academy/
  7. ^ https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/maple-leaf/defence/2020/04/change-of-command-at-op-unifier.html
  8. ^ https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-defense/3112584-lieutenantcolonel-sarah-heer-takes-command-of-operation-unifier-in-ukraine.html
  9. ^ Zeilig, Martin (October 4, 2018). "2PPCLI Op Unifier soldiers invited to Winnipeg for Oct. 14 event". Shilo Stag.
  10. ^ "Ukrainian War Veterans Association of Canada holds a Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Event in Toronto Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Toronto Branch". ucctoronto.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  11. ^ "Operation Unifier Deserves Our Gratitude | New Pathway Ukrainian News | Новий Шлях Українські Вісті". New Pathway Ukrainian News | Новий Шлях Українські Вісті. 2018-01-24. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  12. ^ "Щоб кулі минали: зміна почесної варти в Канаді пройшла під українську пісню. Відеофакт".