Canada to buy $406-million surface-to-air missile system for Ukraine

OTTAWA — Canada is buying a U.S. surface-to-air missile system for Ukraine nearly a year after Russia's invasion of the country began.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau informed U.S. President Joe Biden of the purchase on the sidelines of the North American Leaders' Summit in Mexico City on Tuesday.

Trudeau's office said the move would involve buying an American-made National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System.

Defence Minister Anita Anand's office said it will cost $406 million, and is "the firstCanadian donation of an air-defence system to Ukraine."

The money stems from the $500 million Trudeau announced in military aid for Ukraine last November during the G20 summit in Indonesia.

The decision to send this type of equipment comes in response to intensified Russian air raids on cities, military sites and critical infrastructure such as power stations.

Surface-to-air missile systems can protect against drone, missile and aircraft attacks "with a high success rate," Anand's office said in a news release.

In the past month, the U.S. and Germany both announced plans to send Ukraine such systems, while France has pledged tanks.

Ukraine Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Monday that his country welcomed the recent aid, saying it would help ward off Russia and bring about peace sooner.

Moscow, which started the war in Ukraine last February, has decried the military aid as a provocation aimed at weakening Russia's sway in the world.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2023.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press