Stung by allegations that its troops trained neo-Nazis in Ukraine, Canada’s defense department has launched a review into the vetting process on its “mentoring” and “capacity building” programs for foreign military personnel.
A defense department spokesperson Dan Le Bouthillier stated that an internal review was underway last month in response to these bombshell allegations. “look holistically at all missions”Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), are involved in foreign military personnel.
He noted, however that not all details of the meeting would be revealed. “the specifics of the process by which the CAF verifies the suitability of training candidates is subject to operational security restrictions.”
Canada, which has been in Ukraine since 2015 as part of the joint task-force ‘Operation UNIFIER’, provides support and training to Ukrainian security forces. According to media reports, senior Canadian military leadership – including former defense minister Harjit Sajjan – have largely ignored warnings about far-right elements within the Ukrainian forces since then.
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In June 2018, Canadian diplomats and armed forces officers met and posed for photographs with members of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion – despite reportedly expressing concerns about the meeting being leaked to the media. Ottawa Citizen reports that Azov Battalion made use of the photo-op to promote their cause.
The paper claims that Lt. Col. Fraser Auld (then-commander) had warned against negative media coverage, which could lead to questions from Canada about the meeting. Task force officers apparently had been briefed in 2017. “multiple members of Azov have described themselves as Nazis.”But, the highest brass didn’t condemn it.
Lt.-Gen. Jean-Marc Lanthier (then-Canadian Army commander) and Azov Battallion members were present at another unreported December 2018 meeting. There was also no condemnation of the radical sympathies. Chris Henderson, at that time the deputy minister for public affairs, sent more than 20 email addresses to defense department public relations officials about the incident. “need to be ready”For media scrutiny
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In September, a study on the far-right in Ukraine’s military had first revealed that ‘Military Order Centuria,’ a neo-Nazi outfit of soldiers within the country’s National Army Academy linked to the Azov movement, had boasted online about receiving training from Canada and other NATO countries.
Le Bouthillier previously mentioned that Canadian military officers had not known of the attendees to the 2018, which was organized by Ukrainian authorities. Canada is the host of this meeting, he said. “has not, does not, and will not be providing support to Azov and affiliated entities.”
Critics told the newspaper that, despite the announcement of a review, the CAF did not conduct any vetting on foreign troops it trained, and instead left the task to the nation who provided the troops.
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