IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Apr 12, 2022

President Vladimir Putin said today that the “main goal” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “to help people” in the country’s eastern fringes while “taking measures to ensure the security of Russia itself.” As his forces were marshalling to step up their onslaught after encountering stiff resistance in the north, he also said “there is no doubt” of success.”

Apr 12, 2022

U.S. Northern Command wants congressional approval of a $29.8 million procurement of equipment to optimize artificial intelligence and machine learning infrastructure at its joint operations centre with NORAD. The plan would aggregate data across the Pentagon’s cloud-computing environment and share intelligence information across all domains.

Apr 12, 2022

There have been more than 10,000 civilian deaths in the besieged southern Ukraine port city of Mariupol after weeks of indiscriminate shelling by Russian invaders, the city’s mayor said April 11. Corpuses “carpeted through the streets,” he said, expecting the toll to surpass 20,000.

Apr 12, 2022

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier says the federal government could convert some of its downtown Ottawa office space into housing as thousands of public servants continue to work from home. “Hybrid work is here to stay,” she says. “We have to look at how we’re going to strengthen our downtown core and making sure that we don’t keep these offices empty.” Local business and politicians have been pressing the government to send more employees back downtown.

Apr 12, 2022

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer had a “tough” meeting April 11 with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first such meeting since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. “I have just come from Ukraine and have seen with my own eyes the immeasurable suffering caused by the Russian war of aggression,” he said after the meeting outside Moscow. Nehammer also said Putin blamed Ukrainians for Russian brutalities.

Apr 12, 2022

China has delivered anti-aircraft missile systems to Serbia under a contract signed in 2020. Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said April 11 that the delivery was part of the two countries’ annual cooperation plan and has “nothing to do” with current regional tensions.

Apr 11, 2022

As historically-neutral Sweden and Finland consider bids for NATO membership, the Kremlin’s spokesman warned against it, saying that that “the alliance remains a tool geared towards confrontation.” Dmitry Peskov was responding to reports that U.S. State Department officials met last week with the Finnish and Swedish foreign ministers whose governments are concerned about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and potentially other neighbours..

Apr 11, 2022

Veterans Affairs Canada says a computer error is to blame for the families of nearly 700 deceased veterans recently receiving T4A income tax slips. One case involved an Army corporal who died in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan 16 years ago.

Apr 11, 2022

When Sgt Nina Usherwood joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1979, she went by a different name and gender. After transitioning and a legal name-change, she applied for a medical discharge, but says it took “months” for Veterans Affairs Canada to reflect her new identify in its files. She says the bureaucratic process is potentially “traumatic” and has joined others in calling for a more inclusive process.

Apr 11, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed Gen Alexander Dvornikov, one of his country’s most experienced officers, to take control of the Ukraine invasion now well into its seventh week. Dvornikov gained a reputation for brutal attacks against civilians during operations in support of the Syrian government.

Apr 07, 2022

The prospect that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be prolonged, NATO is divided on how to manage the next stage of the conflict and the ensuing uncertainty. Some countries such as Poland and the Baltic states, concerned that anything that Moscow can present as a victory will damage to European security, want a total break but others such as France, Germany and Turkey evidently want to maintain links with President Vladimir Putin despite alleged war crimes.

Apr 07, 2022

Newly-released video verified by the New York Times appears to show Ukrainian soldiers killing captured Russians in a village near Kyiv. The newspaper said today that it shows a Russian being shot three times as well as the nearby bodies of three others on the road near an BMD-2 airborne combat vehicle.

Apr 07, 2022

On the eve of today’s federal budget, the House of Commons passed a Conservative motion calling for increased defence spending to “at least” the NATO target of two per cent of GDP. The vote was 303-27 with the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois voting for it while the NDP and Greens voted against it.

Apr 06, 2022

RCAF investigators said April 6 that last month’s crash of a CH-149 Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopter in Newfoundland was caused by a malfunctioning pilot seat while the crew was hovering in a training flight. The crash at 9 Wing Gander injured the crew of six to varying degrees and left the aircraft fuselage on its side.

Apr 06, 2022

A multimillion-dollar 5G challenge issued by the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is designed to promote growth and adoption of a fifth-generation open ecosystem and related technologies. Participants will be eligible for awards of up to $3 million. Amanda Toman, DoD’s lead on 5G, said the technology is “too critical a technology sector to relinquish to countries whose products and technologies are not aligned with our standards of privacy and security.”

Apr 06, 2022

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said April 5 that while the alliance would welcome traditionally neutral Finland and Sweden as members. “It's for them to decide, of course, but if they apply, I expect that 30 allies will welcome them.” he said.

Apr 06, 2022

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has signed a deal worth some $4.75 billion to buy 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 main battle tanks from the U.S. “We are strengthening the Polish military, and we are deterring a potential aggressor,” he said in an April 5 statement released by his department. An initial batch of 28 is expected to be delivered this year.

Apr 06, 2022

The Czech Republic has sent five Soviet-design T-72 tanks and five Czech-built BVP-1 tracked infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, a gift agreed to by its NATO allies. While Defence Minister Jana Černochová told parliament April 5 that she would neither confirm nor deny the decision, she said her country “is helping Ukraine as much as it can.”

Apr 06, 2022

Australia, Britain and the U.S. have agreed to cooperate on hypersonic weapons and electronic warfare capabilities, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office announced April 5. Australia and the U.S. already have a hypersonics weapon program but while Britain’s involvement is designed to increase all three countries’ options, it would not be joining the bilateral program at this time.

Apr 06, 2022

The U.S. Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have confirmed the successful test of a hypersonic missile in March. The development was not announced earlier to avoid exacerbating tensions with Russia as it invaded Ukraine. Developed by Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne and released from a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, the missile surpassed Mach 5, topped 65,000 feet altitude and flew more than 300 miles.

Apr 06, 2022

A week after he was appointed the ranking Military Police non-commissioned officer, CWO Jonathan Lacoste’s posting was recently rescinded by Provost Marshal BGen Simon Trudeau. The explanation is that three years earlier, Lacoste was sanctioned for making sexual comments about three women at a MP Christmas function.

Apr 06, 2022

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says Russian forces are regrouping for a southeastern offensive designed to connect the occupied Crimean Peninsula with separatist-controlled territory in the eastern Donbas region. “This is a crucial phase of the war,” he said on the eve of today’s NATO foreign affairs ministers, urging the allies to have weapons and other materiel ready for Ukraine.

Apr 05, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several members of his cabinet have turned to social media to condemn retreating Russian forces’ killings of civilians in Ukraine. “Those responsible for these egregious and appalling attacks will be brought to justice,” Trudeau said, echoing a tweet by Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly, who said “Canada will not spare any effort, including investigations of war crimes, to ensure that those responsible are held to account.”

Apr 05, 2022

The U.S. Department of Defense is sending Ukraine an additional $300 million of war-fighting equipment. Procured from manufacturers rather than DoD stockpiles, it includes laser-guided missile systems and surveillance and tactical drones as well as array of other gear on top of $1.6 billion in “security assistance” already shipped since Russia’s invasion began.

Apr 04, 2022

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has renewed his country’s commitment to spending at least two percent of its GDP on defence, but he is delaying implementation by four years amid a domestic political row over budgets. Italy currently spends 1.4 per cent of its GDP on defence, short of NATO’s requested two per cent.

Apr 04, 2022

A county court judge has overturned a Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission’s decision last year that U.S. Navy SEALS could use up to 28 parks as training grounds. The original approval rankled many recreational park users and in addressing their appeal, Judge James Dixon said the commission’s decision was illegal and outside its purview, which includes protecting and enhancong parks.

Apr 04, 2022

Russian efforts to build support for its invasion of Ukraine by claiming that that Ukraine has been harvesting organs from fallen soldiers as well as women and children have resulted in a rare public warning by Canada’s Security Establishment. The CSE says there has been a coordinated effort by Moscow to create and spread the false reports and that there had been “amplified fake stories and narratives falsely claiming that only military targets were being attacked, and that civilian causalities in Ukraine were lower than what confirmed.”

Apr 04, 2022

An announcement by the Solomon Islands government that it intends to “broaden its security and development cooperation with more countries”, notably China, has raised hackles in the region. A key concern is a draft agreement whereby the Solomons could ask Beijing to send military or law enforcement personnel with neither country, without consent, sharing details with other states.

Apr 04, 2022

Russia’s 331st Guards Parachute Regiment had hoped to distinguish itself in its country’s invasion of Ukraine but the reality on the ground has been quite the opposite. After its commander was killed last month, open-source material shows that at least several dozen other members have died in the face of stiff resistance.

Apr 01, 2022

As of today, all travellers entering Canada are no longer be required to provide a pre-entry coronavirus test as long as they are “fully vaccinated. That means two doses of an accepted vaccine or at least one of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 14 days prior to arrival. All arriving travellers must complete a questionnaire on the ArriveCAN app or on the government's website within 72 hours of their arrival, but anyone exhibiting symptoms will not be permitted entry.

Mar 31, 2022

The historic U.S. military and civil helicopter manufacturer, MD Helicopters, which was a division of Hughes Aircraft until it was taken over by McDonnell Douglas in 1984 and then sold off when MD merged with Boeing in 1997, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy today. Planning to continue operations for the time being, the company is trying to recapitalize and discharge potentially crippling debt.

Mar 31, 2022

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has confirmed that seven more RCMP officers will join three others “as quickly as possible” to help with an International Criminal Court investigation of possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine. “This will be a team of dedicated experts who understand how to collect evidence which could be marshaled into a future prosecution,” he said March 29.

Mar 31, 2022

Members of 11 unions at Seaspan’s Victoria shipyard have served a strike notice on the company potentially leading to a shutdown April 1 over a number of contract issues. Among other things, Seaspan works on Royal Canadian Navy ships and submarines.

Mar 30, 2022

Former Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance pled guilty today in a virtual Ottawa court appearance to a charge of obstruction of justice arising from an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct. The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) charged him in 2021 and Ontario Provincial Court documents allege that he asked a former partner in the Canadian Army to make false statement to investigators.

Mar 30, 2022

A tribunal of human rights experts was established by the UN today to investigate possible war crimes in Ukraine where Russia has been accused of indiscriminate bombardment of civilians and Ukrainians are alleged to have mistreated captured invaders. The panel is led by Norwegian jurist Erik Mose, who presided over the 2003-2007 International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Mar 30, 2022

Forty-three Russian diplomats suspected of espionage, nearly half in Belgium alone, are being expelled in a coordinated move which also involves the Czech Republic, Ireland and the Netherlands. The announcement today follows similar actions by other EU members.

Mar 30, 2022

At $48.6 billion between its Department of Defence and Signals Directorate, Australia’s latest military and intelligence budget is 3.8 per cent higher after inflation than in 2021-2022. One analysis says that while Canberra’s plan responds to a changing global environment, it’s a relic of earlier times in that it follows a 2016 policy paper developed in 2015.

Mar 30, 2022

A day after Russian negotiators promised to scale down its invasion of Ukraine, Russian forces bombarded a besieged city in northern Ukraine today. Western allies had already dismissed the Russian plan as a ploy to regroup its battle-scarred troops.

Mar 29, 2022

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland confirmed today that she will table the 2022 federal budget on April 7. It’s expected to be a “back to basics” fiscal agenda after two years of extraordinary costs associated with softening the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic but there is some optimism about increased defence spending.

Mar 29, 2022

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is presenting a challenge for the former Soviet republic of Khazakstan, says its deputy minister, Roman Vassilenko. He was quoted by a German newspaper March 28 as saying his country, a centre for Russia’s space program, does not want to be on the wrong side of a new “iron curtain” but would welcome foreign companies abandoning Russia.

Mar 29, 2022

U.S. designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a “foreign terrorist organization” evidently is at centre stage in ongoing efforts to revive Iran’s nuclear accord, abandoned by the former U.S. administration in 2015. European Union negotiator Enrique Mora met with Iranian officials in Tehran on the weekend and talks focused on whether the U.S. would lift the IRGC’s designation.

Mar 29, 2022

In the aftermath of his country’s test of an ICBM, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is planning to develop more powerful weaponry to give his country “formidable striking capabilities . . . that cannot be stopped.” The official Korean Central News Agency report March 28 suggests additional missile tests and possibly resuming underground nuclear tests which it stopped in 2017.

Mar 28, 2022

Boeing Corp. announced March 28 that Ted Colbert, former head of Boeing Global Services and once the company’s chief information officer, will take as president of its $26-billion Defense, Space and Security division this week. He is to be succeeded at Global Services by Stephanie Pope, chief financial officer at the Commercial Airplanes division. Leanne Caret, who headed the DSS division since 2016, will retire at year’s end, serving in the interim as executive vice president and senior adviser to Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun.

Mar 29, 2022

Canada’s Future Fighter Capability Project continues to stutter its way to completion with a federal government announcement that while it has chosen the Lockheed Martin F-35 over the Saab Gripen E, it still has to “finalize” details with the U.S. aerospace giant on a procurement estimated to cost $19 billion.

Mar 28, 2022

A $5.8-trillion budget plan released today by the White House reflects growing security and economic concerns at home and abroad, including $773 billion in defence spending, nearly 10 per cent more than eventually approved by Congress for 2021. The administration said the hike reflects ongoing overseas threats such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a growing risk of cyberattacks. Dedicated Veterans Affairs medical care funding also is part of the plan as is a four-per-cent increase to $813.3 billion in the national security envelope

Mar 28, 2022

Having shipped thousands of Javelin and Stinger missile systems to Eastern Europe since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine a month ago, the U.S. is moving to restock. “I think we can do it,” says Doug Bush, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, explaining that it will involve an assessment of the Army’s needs, supply chains, long-lead procurement and ancillary equipment.

Mar 28, 2022

Estonia, with a population of some 1.34 million, has approved a €476-million increase in its military budget, most of it for short- to mid-range air defence systems. The Baltic state’s defence ministry says its overall budget of €476 million will mount to 2.3 per cent of gross domestic product this year.

Mar 28, 2022

The U.S., Canada and 25 other countries have concluded a final planning conference for this year’s Rim of the Pacific exercise. The biennial RIMPAC was scaled down to a mostly naval exercise in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic but this year is expected to be a multi-domain affair in July and August in and around Hawaii. Royal Canadian Navy Cmdre Christopher Robinson is deputy commander of the combined task force.

Mar 28, 2022

Most of the participants in the 27-nation Cold Response exercise in northern Norway, where Canada has a small presence of about 10 personnel among the 30,000 troops deployed, evidently have Russia on their mind. “The lesson learned here is (that) you can’t predict what a dictator might do,” says U.S. Marine Corps Gen. David Berger, referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “You have to respect the capabilities that they have, and you have to be ready to respond.”.

Mar 25, 2022

A draft Russian resolution which would have called attention to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine without mentioning Russia’s four-week-old invasion was defeated in the UN Security Council March 23 when it was supported only by China.

Mar 25, 2022

Airbus Helicopters has completed 150 launches and recoveries of its autonomous takeoff and landing VSR700 unmanned aerial system. “Tests in real-life conditions constitute a crucial step towards the campaign that we will conduct at sea with the . . . French Navy,” said VSR700 program head Nicolas Delmas. First flown in 2020, it is expected to have a maximum takeoff weight range of up to a tonne when fully operational.

Mar 24, 2022

Allies meeting in Brussels today pledged new sanctions and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but not the more robust military assistance President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleaded for to blunt Russia’s brutal assault and drive the invaders out. The allies met in emergency summits involving NATO, the European Council and the G-7 economic group and while grateful for their help, Zelenskyy reiterated his impassioned plea for far more than has been promised.

Mar 24, 2022

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who died this week at the age of 84, always saw Russian President Vladimir Putin as a grave threat to peace and predicted that his forces would face a strategic disaster and bloody resistance if they were deployed into Ukraine. “Invading Ukraine would ensure Mr. Putin’s infamy by leaving his country diplomatically isolated, economically crippled and strategically vulnerable in the face of a stronger, more united Western alliance,” she wrote on the eve of the invasion four weeks ago even as various western leaders professed uncertainty.

Mar 24, 2022

The advent of spring in Ukraine is causing problems for local officials who are having to deal with dead Russian troops as the frost melts and the ground thaws. A regional governor, calling on residents to help collect and bag the corpses, wants them refrigerated and returned to Russia for identification.

Mar 24, 2022

Japanese and South Korean observers said that North Korea today launched its first ICBM since 2017. The missile reached an altitude of 3,728 miles and travelled 683 miles downrange before crashing into the sea west of Japan. South Korea says it was more powerful that the last ICBM launched by its neighbour.

Mar 23, 2022

Advanced Communications and Electronics Systems of Saudi Arabia and China Electronics Technology Group have set up a joint venture, Aerial Solutions, to design and build military drones in the kingdom. The program is said to include communications, flight-control, camera, radar and wireless-detection systems.

Mar 23, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to attend the next G20 summit, currently set for the end of October in Bali, Indonesia. There had been suggestions that Russia should be barred because of its invasion of Ukraine, but China pushed back, saying “expulsion of Russia from this kind of forum will not help (global) economic problems to be resolved.”

Mar 23, 2022

The NATO Communication and Information Agency wants a say in 5G standardization talks to ensure the latest wireless technology can be used for military as well as civilian. Its interim chief technology officer, Antonio Calderon, says 5G could facilitate new strategic and other capabilities for the alliance.

Mar 23, 2022

Two new Arctic patrol ships being built for the Canadian Coast Guard by Irving Shipbuilding evidently will cost nearly twice as much as their six Royal Canadian Navy counterparts. Struggling with supply chain issues and inflation, as well as meeting CCG-specific design requirements, Irving has told Parliament that it is “working to quantify those challenges in a revised cost estimate.” The latest estimate is $750 million each compared with about $400 million for the RCN vessels.

Mar 23, 2022

A “supply and confidence” agreement with the New Democratic Party is designed to ensure the Liberals’ hold on governance until 2025 in return for commitments to cooperate on key policy areas. Those include climate change, health care spending, indigenous reconciliation, economic growth and efforts to make life more affordable. However, the deal confirmed March 22 does not give the NDP a seat at the cabinet table.

Mar 23, 2022

The prospects of a significant increase in Canada’s defence spending in the next federal budget could be dimming even as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to Europe after announcing a political partnership with the New Democratic Party. The government had been hinting at more money in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has been pressed to meet a NATO spending target but it’s possible that the expected costs of satisfying NDP priorities could affect defence spending.

Mar 22, 2022

European Union defence ministers have adopted a “Strategic Compass” document designed to enhance the bloc’s defences as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine goes into its fifth week. The document endorsed March 21 replaces a hitherto diplomatic approach with language clearly describing Russia as an aggressor and threat to Europe as a whole. It states that the EU aims “to become a more assertive security and defense actor by enabling more robust, rapid and decisive action, including for the resilience of the Union and our mutual assistance and solidarity.”

Mar 22, 2022

Annoyed by Japanese sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine, Russia withdrew from treaty talks and froze joint economic projects related to the disputed Kuril Islands. The two have not formally ended World War II because of their long standoff over the archipelago which was seized by the Soviet Union at the end of the war.

Mar 21, 2022

The U.S. said today that violence against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar by the country’s military amounts to genocide and crimes against humanity. The formal declaration by Secretary of State Antony Blinken comes four years after a UN fact-finding mission concluded the military's campaign included “genocidal acts” but the administration of the day called it “ethnic cleansing”, which has no legal definition under international criminal law.

Mar 21, 2022

Retired Army Gen Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff from February 2005 to July 2008, says the federal government is falling well short of providing Ukraine and its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the support needed repel Russian invaders. “Inspired by Zelenskyy, and embarrassed for my country,” Hillier says that sanctions against Russians are “wonderful” but “useless” for Ukrainians and that it is time for NATO to “grow a backbone.”

Mar 21, 2022

Several disputed islands in the South China Sea continue to be the focus of massive Chinese militarization, to the point where the U.S. commander for the region says it poses an increasing threat to all nations in the region. “I think over the past 20 years we’ve witnessed the largest military buildup since World War II,” said Adm John Aquilino, noting that the actions contrasted with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s assertion to the contrary.

Mar 21, 2022

An online warning to the Russian people by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger about how they are being lied to about their government’s invasion of Ukraine captured a global audience in no time, including in Russia. Among other things, it challenges President Vladimir Putin’s claim that he wants to “denazify” Ukraine, whose own leader is Jewish. “You started this war and you can stop it,” he told Putin.

Mar 18, 2022

A draft Russian resolution at the UN, ostensibly seeking support for aiding and protecting Ukrainians, prompted Canada to edit it to add that “like other members of the international community, we are gravely concerned” about the invasion. That prompted a Russian envoy to accuse Canada on social media of “kindergarten-level Russophobic libel.” The resolution eventually was not put to a vote March 18.

Mar 18, 2022

Britain is deploying a new medium- range air-defence system and 100 personnel to Poland to bolster its ability to deter what Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said March 17 could be “further aggression from Russia.” Part of a growing NATO commitment to regional defence, the MBDA-developed Sky Sabre replaces Rapier missiles dating to the 1970s and uses a Saab radar and Rafael command-and-control system.

Mar 18, 2022

Effective April 1, the federal government will scrap pre-entry coronavirus testing for all returning travellers who are at least double-vaccinated. “We are now entering into a transition phase of this pandemic,” However, travellers will still need to complete a questionnaire about their vaccination status and travel history.

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