Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 12.04.2018
The United States is providing Ukraine with life-saving intelligence from drones, and is helping Ukraine defend itself and all of Europe. Canada is not providing Ukraine with life-saving intelligence from satellite imagery, and is helping Russia invade and occupy Ukraine.
Ukraine is fighting Russian invaders in a war of national salvation. Russia invaded Ukraine over four years ago, and today occupies Crimea and part of Donbas. Attacks by Russian armed forces in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine never cease. Defending themselves and other Europeans, Ukrainians fight foreign invaders from Muscovy with indomitable courage. But courage is can never be enough against an implacable enemy like the Russians. To fight Putin’s invading army effectively, Ukraine needs every instrument of modern technological warfare. Every bit of outside help is welcome. With respect to image intelligence, the United States is helping Ukraine and Canada is not.
The Ukrainian armed forces, as well as the volunteers helping them, use small drones in the Donbas battlefield for surveillance. But Ukraine does not have medium or large sized drones. The United States does, and it is sharing with Ukraine the information gathered from their use near the Russian invasion of Europe battlefront. One of the latest reconnaissance unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) from the US is the MQ-9 Reaper drone. Produced by General Dynamics, the MQ-9 Reaper UAV uses a video capture system to collect data on the operational status of the enemy. These data are then analyzed by artificial intelligence systems. The US is flying the MQ-9 Reaper UAV on Ukraine’s behalf – mostly in Donbas but also in Crimea (the two regions under temporary Russian occupation). Ukrainian military specialists are being trained in the use of the information gained from this drone.
Help by the US with drones allows Ukraine to defend itself better. It saves lives.
Under the previous Harper government, Canada had been sharing satellite imagery with Ukraine. Canada’s RADARSAT-2 satellite is one of the world’s most advanced Earth observation radar image providers. Radar satellite imaging is not affected by cloud cover, as visible light imaging satellites is. Shared with the Ukrainian armed forces, RADARSAT-2 imagery provided the same benefit it gives to the Canadian armed forces: terrestrial defence surveillance and target identification. In May 2016, the current Trudeau government in Canada cut off the sharing of satellite imagery with Ukraine. The Government of Canada gave no reason, but it was widely believed to be done to appease aggressor Russia.
In December 2017, a Canadian parliamentary committee on national defence recommended that Canada resume sharing RADARSAT-2 imagery. In March 2018, the Trudeau government rejected the recommendation to resume sharing satellite imagery with Ukraine. Once again, the Canadian government gave no reason for saying “no” to the committee’s well-researched recommendation. In the Canadian government, it appears that the appease-Russia faction in the Prime Minister’s Office and Global Affairs Canada completely overwhelms the help-Ukraine faction of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada and the Standing Committee on National Defence.
Withdrawing help by Canada with satellite imagery assists Russia’s invasion and occupation Ukraine. It stops lives from being saved.
Western civilization depends on defeating Russian aggression. Ukraine is the vanguard of the West. Bravo to the US for helping Ukraine defend itself better with drone imagery. Shame on Canada for taking away from Ukraine the help of satellite imagery.