News Release Article from  National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces

Change of Command for Operation UNIFIER in Ukraine

August 9, 2016 — Ottawa — National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

The new commander of Joint Task Force-Ukraine (JTF-U), Lieutenant-Colonel Wayne Niven, assumed command from Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Arsenault today during a ceremony at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Starychi, Ukraine, as part of Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s military training mission in Ukraine.

As commander of JTF-U, Lieutenant-Colonel Niven commands approximately 200 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel with the mission to conduct training with the Ukrainian Armed Forces in areas such as Small Team training, which consists of individual weapons training; marksmanship; communication; survival; and ethics training.


“I extend a warm welcome to Lieutenant-Colonel Wayne Niven, as he leads Canada’s contribution to provide military training to Ukrainian forces. Equally, I extend my appreciation to Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Arsenault for his significant leadership and professionalism on Operation UNIFIER during his time in Command and to the troops for their outstanding performance.”

Lieutenant-General Stephen Bowes, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command

“My soldiers are looking forward to exchanging expertise and experience with our Ukrainian partners to the mutual benefit of our armed forces. We will build on the high standard of training established by previous rotations and continue to develop the effectiveness and professionalism of the Ukrainian troops on operations.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Wayne Niven, incoming Commander, Joint-Task Force Ukraine 

“The troops and I leave Ukraine with a strong sense of accomplishment. Since the beginning of this mission, Canadian soldiers have not only contributed significantly to building capacity within the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but have also served to clearly represent Canada’s engagement towards Ukraine and commitment towards its allies.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Arsenault, outgoing Commander, Joint-Task Force Ukraine

Quick Facts

  • Canada is providing military training and capacity-building to Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel to support Ukraine in its efforts to maintain sovereignty, security, and stability.

  • Under Operation UNIFIER’s mandate, Canada is participating in a wide range of capacity-building operations on a sustained basis in Ukraine. These operations, coordinated with and complimentary to the activities of the United States and the United Kingdom, have been developed in consultation with Ukraine. They consist of the provision of military training to enhance peace support operations interoperability, institutional capacity-building, and professional development of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. 

  • The training is conducted in seven different lines of efforts that aim at developing specific areas such as: small team training, combat first aid, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal, military police techniques, logistics modernization, flight safety and language training, and other training under the auspices of the Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP).

  • Since the start of the mission in September 2015, more than 1700 Ukrainian Armed Forces members have participated in the training provided by the CAF.

  • Deployed members come from all parts of Canada, depending on the skillset and capability that they bring in order to conduct a particular training program. This rotation is comprised of members primarily from 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Edmonton, Alberta, and Shilo, Manitoba, replacing personnel from 2 Canadian Division based in the Province of Quebec.

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Wayne Niven is an Infantry Officer and graduate from Royal Military College who has served in many command and staff positions through his career. He most recently served as the Commanding Officer of 2nd Battallion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry since June 2015, and has previously deployed to Bosnia and Afghanistan.

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