Minister Blair Collaborates with German Counterpart, Commits $76 Million to Air Defence Initiative

Minister Pistorius and Minister Blair Immediate Action on Air Defence

Minister Pistorius and Minister Blair Immediate Action on Air Defence - Image source:

In a significant diplomatic stride, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, hosted Germany’s Minister of Defence, Boris Pistorius, in Ottawa on May 10, 2024. The bilateral meeting between the Ministers was marked by fruitful discussions encompassing Canada’s recently unveiled defence policy, “Our North, Strong and Free“, and the robust defence ties between Canada and Germany. Key topics on the agenda included joint efforts to bolster support for Ukraine and fortify NATO’s defence and deterrence capabilities, particularly in the Baltic region where both nations spearhead multinational NATO battle groups.

Minister Blair unveiled Canada’s commitment of $76 million to Germany’s Immediate Action on Air Defence (IAAD) initiative, designed to bolster Ukraine’s air defence capabilities. Launched by Germany in April 2024, this initiative aggregates financial resources from the global community to promptly procure and deploy air defence systems for Ukraine. The aim is to counter Russian aerial assaults that have inflicted substantial human casualties and wreaked havoc on critical infrastructure in Ukraine, including hospitals and residential complexes.

“Canada and Germany are close NATO Allies, united through our close defence relationship and our commitment to supporting Ukraine. Through Canada’s investment in Germany’s Immediate Action on Air Defence Initiative, we are working together to provide Ukraine with the crucial air defence systems that it needs to protect its people. I thank Minister Pistorius for his strong cooperation, and I thank the German people for their hospitality to Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to the country,” expressed the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence.

Emphasizing the collaborative spirit between Canada and Germany within the NATO framework, Ministers Blair and Pistorius underscored their countries’ pivotal roles in leading NATO battle groups stationed in Latvia and Lithuania. Additionally, they reiterated their commitment to augmenting NATO’s defence and deterrence posture in Eastern Europe, with concerted efforts underway to bolster these battle groups to full Brigade size.

The Ministers also deliberated on shared priorities in anticipation of the upcoming NATO Summit in Washington D.C. this summer, reaffirming their steadfast commitment to extending crucial military assistance to Ukraine in both immediate and enduring capacities.

Canada’s contribution to the German IAAD initiative exemplifies the multifaceted collaboration between the two nations in supporting Ukraine. Presently, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel are deployed in Germany as part of the Security Assistance Group – Ukraine, facilitating aid transfers, aligning future assistance with Ukraine’s evolving requirements, and strategizing for the training needs of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the short and long term.

The enduring partnership between Canada and Germany in the realm of defence underscores their shared commitment to upholding global peace, stability, and the principles of the rules-based international order.

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