An activist smokes a cigarette after clashes with a special forces police battalion in Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Demonstrators on Thursday confronted city workers attempting to clear a central square, lighting tires on fire in protest against the city government's move. Efrem Lukatsky/Associated Press
Canada will send military equipment to help Ukraine protect its eastern border, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said Thursday.
Nicholson made the announcement at CFB Trenton, a busy airbase located a 90-minute drive east of Toronto.
"Ukraine has asked for this and once again we are delivering," Nicholson said.
"[Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s failure to end his support to armed rebel groups constitutes a real threat to international peace and security."
Canada will deploy a series of flights carrying what has been described as "non-lethal equipment," a senior government source told CBC News. That usually refers to defensive or protective equipment, as opposed to weapons used for attacking.
A Canadian Forces website says most equipment deployed anywhere in the world will "pass through Trenton at some point."
In June, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged $5 million in military aid to Ukraine, including body armour and night vision goggles. Until then, the U.S. had only provided non-lethal forms of aid like clothes, food and radios.
Last February, Canada pledged $200,000 in medical aid to Ukraine after months of protests and violent suppression in the country. Canada later pledged $220 million in financial support, conditional on the establishment of a broader package by the International Monetary Fund.
Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine's ambassador to Canada, has complained the aid is taking too long to arrive. Canadian officials say they have to ensure the proper checks and balances are in place so the money is spent properly.
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