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Canada holds off on sending military trainers back to Ukraine

National Defence Minister Bill Blair speaks with reporters in the Foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, Monday, June 17, 2024 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld National Defence Minister Bill Blair speaks with reporters in the Foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, Monday, June 17, 2024 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
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OTTAWA -

Canada does not think the time is right to send military trainers back to Ukraine, given hesitation among NATO allies about such a step, Defence Minister Bill Blair said on Monday.

Blair spoke to reporters after attending a NATO summit which agreed the alliance would assume a greater role in co-ordinating arms supplies to Ukraine.

"There was discussion of a NATO mission to enhance the training. At the present time, the circumstances are not right to deploy - in my view - the Canadian trainers in Ukraine," Blair told reporters.

"There is, I think, quite an understandable concern about expanding a training mission into Ukraine at the current time."

Canada, which has helped prepare more than 40,000 Ukrainian soldiers since 2015, pulled its training contingent out of western Ukraine just before Russia invaded in February 2022. The trainers moved to Britain and Poland to resume their work with Ukrainian troops.

The White House has said it was not planning to send U.S. military trainers to Ukraine.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren, editing by Deepa Babington)

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