By Kuba Stezycki and Joanna Plucinska
WARSAW (Reuters) -Canada said on Tuesday it will send 40 more combat engineers to help support Polish efforts to train Ukrainian forces, as part of its commitment to increasing military aid for Ukraine.
The Canadian Armed Forces have trained more than 33,000 Ukrainian military and security personnel since 2015, but have paused aspects of the training effort since February.
“Today, I am announcing that in the coming weeks, Canada will deploy approximately 40 combat engineers to Poland to help Polish Forces train Ukrainian sappers on engineer reconnaissance, explosives, mining and de-mining,” Canada’s defence minister Anita Anand told a news conference in Warsaw.
Canadian forces have also helped the Polish military and government in supporting refugee reception centres and have helped support Britain-based training programmes.
Anand said the additional training “will complement Canadian training of new Ukrainian recruits in the United Kingdom, and Canadian training of Ukrainian personnel on the use of the M777 howitzers that we donated to Ukraine.”
Russia rained cruise missiles on Ukrainian cities on Monday in what the United States called “horrific strikes”, killing civilians and knocking out power supplies, in its most widespread air attacks since the start of the war in February.
“Canada wholeheartedly condemns those brutal strikes against civilian targets and infrastructure,” Anand told journalists at a later meeting. “Those strikes constitute a war crime.”
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” that it says is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists. It has denied deliberately attacking civilians.
(Reporting by Kuba Stezycki, writing by Joanna Plucinska and Alan Charlish; Editing by Susan Fenton, William Maclean)