On Canada’s provision of arms to Ukraine

February 15, 2022

A Statement from Project Ploughshares
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On Monday, February 14, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that Canadian officials had authorized $7.8-million worth of arms transfers, described as “lethal equipment and ammunition” to Ukraine. The transfers are to include “machine guns, pistols, carbines, 1.5 million rounds of ammunition, sniper rifles, and various related equipment.”

Article 7.1 of the Arms Trade Treaty, to which Canada is a party, requires that all arms transfers be subjected to a standardized risk assessment. If such transfers pose a substantial risk of facilitating negative consequences under the ATT—such as undermining peace and security, or violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law—the transfers cannot be authorized.

Canada’s obligations under the Treaty are universal and extend to all organs of the Canadian government involved in the transfer of weapons systems, including the Department of National Defence. As such, any transfer of Canadian military goods to Ukraine—even in the form of military aid—must be assessed against ATT criteria.

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Photo by U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Alexander Rector (Public Domain)