August 7, 2014 / 7:07 PM / 5 years ago

Canada gives Ukraine helmets, tents to secure eastern region

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will provide Ukraine with non-lethal equipment such as helmets, protective vests and tents to help secure the country’s unstable eastern region, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday.

Russia has massed thousands of combat-ready troops on the border and NATO has said it fears an invasion. Pro-Russian rebels control parts of eastern Ukraine.

“This equipment, which includes helmets, ballistic eyewear, protective vests, first aid kits, tents and sleeping bags, will provide physical and medical protection to those on the front lines against the insurgency,” Harper said in a statement.

“The logistic equipment provided will allow Ukrainian security and border authorities to better detect and track the movement of illicit goods and people,” he said.

Canada’s Conservative government, which blames Russian President Vladimir Putin for the crisis, has already announced several rounds of sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian companies and individuals.

Ottawa has so far not targeted two key Putin allies who have Canadian business interests.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Toni Reinhold

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