Claims that surfaced in October that members of the Ukrainian military with alleged ties to a far right group appeared to have been trained by the Canadian military and participated in exercises with Canadian soldiers have led to a military review being conducted by the Canadian Department of National Defense (DND).
The Ottawa Citizen reported that parts of the review will be kept secret and not made publicly available.
The review comes after Canada’s Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) called for answers after learning of the involvement of the Canadian soldiers in training foreign soldiers with alleged extremist and neo-Nazi ties.
“This review will look holistically at all missions where the [Canadian Armed Forces] conducts mentoring or capacity building functions with the armed forces of another nation,” DND spokesperson Dan Le Bouthillier told the Citizen.
The DND said that the military review began at the end of October.
The process by which the Canadian military decides which foreign troops it will train has been criticized as it relies on the nation being trained to do the vetting of the participating soldiers.
According to Canadian media reports, the Canadian military was warned as early as 2015, before it began its training mission in Ukraine, that far right groups had allegedly made inroads into Ukrainian military ranks. However, senior military leadership did not follow up.
A September report by the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University in Washington DC found members of the Ukrainian military with alleged ties to a far right group appeared to have been trained by the Canadian military and participated in exercises with Canadian soldiers.
The report sparked concern from FSWC, who called for an "investigation by Canada’s Department of National Defence after far-right extremists within the Ukrainian military were found bragging on social media that they received training from the Canadian Armed Forces.”