Canada’s new governor general Julie Payette is starting a visit to Ukraine today, where she will visit army personnel based on Ukrainian soil, but also in Latvia.
In Ukraine, Julie Payette, who is a polyglot, former astronaut, classical musician and now the country’s commander in chief, will meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Canadian soldiers who serve in the UNIFIER operation.
Operation UNIFIER is the Canadian Armed Forces training mission in Ukraine through which Canada provides military training and capacity-building assistance to Ukrainian Forces personnel in support of Ukraine’s efforts to maintain sovereignty, security, and stability. Canadian troops have been providing combat training, first aid and roadside bomb defusing skills to Ukraine soldiers.
Canada also leads NATO’s multinational enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Latvia, and contributes approximately 450 troops to the deployment as part of Operation REASSURANCE.
Canada has sought to play a robust role in Eastern Europe, through NATO, as its military focus under the Trudeau government has shifted to training and supporting security forces overseas, rather than the combat role emphasised by Canada’s former Conservative government.
By focusing on Canada’s military presence in eastern Europe, Payette’s visit aims to highlight the strengths of a more nuanced, imaginative defence policy that Canada hopes to offer.