Canada will donate 200 light cars made by refugees to Ukraine

Canada will give Ukraine an additional 200 light vehicles made in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, by a manufacturer that employs more than 80 Ukrainian refugees defending its country.

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Defense Minister Anita Anand should make a statement about this after meeting with her counterpart, Ukrainian Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, in Kyiv on Wednesday morning. The minister is in Europe on a special mission.

“Doing nothing is not and cannot be an option for Canada. This assistance is based on our national interests,” Ms. Anand said in an open letter to the magazine. “We are with Ukraine and we will be, because what is happening now will determine the world in which our children grow up.”

Konstantin, a Ukrainian refugee who chose to withhold his family name for fear of reprisals, had been working at Rochelle, Canada’s largest light car maker, since July, just two months after arriving in May.

The 56-year-old specialist, who works as a mechanical engineer in the field of agriculture, is “very grateful” to be able to work as a welding supervisor on the assembly line of the vehicle model “Senator”. Light ordered by Canada for Ukraine.

Konstantin spoke with the QMI Agency through Roman Shimonov, the founder and leader of Rochelle, who served as a translator in Russian, Ukrainian and English.

Konstantin has been working in Rochelle since July.  He works as a welding supervisor for an armored vehicle that Canada will gift to Ukraine.


Konstantin has been working in Rochelle since July. He works as a welding supervisor for an armored vehicle that Canada will gift to Ukraine.

A special story connects him to his new job: the Kraken unit of the Ukrainian army evacuated the building where his mother lived in Vovchansk, 4 kilometers from the border with Russia, with a “senator” built in Mississauga. .

For Roman Shimonov, the work Ukrainian refugees do in Rochelle is not just a means of livelihood.

“They help defend their country, the people who are fighting for the freedom of Ukraine. They work hard because it’s one of the only ways to help their siblings and their parents get stuck there,” Mr. Shimonov said by phone.

Soldiers, engineers, welders: Mr. Shimonov says he has assembled a full team of skilled people dedicated to the project for Ukraine. He found new collaborators through various channels, including social networks.

Konstantin lives in the hope that one day the war will end so that he can join his family in Vovchansk. Unfortunately, it’s not for tomorrow, as new Russian attacks in the past few days have forced new evacuations, so much so that her mother is considering moving to Kharkiv, another recently bombed city in eastern Ukraine.

The engineer wanted to thank Canada for its help so far, but said he would be “even more grateful” if the country and its NATO allies provided more heavy artillery, as he calls President Volodymyr Zelensky himself.

Reserved contract

More than 200 “senators” were brought to Ukraine today. Canada has already shipped 8 in the past, but Rochelle has received orders from several other countries, particularly Europe.

Even if construction does not begin, Roman Shimonov predicts that the first batch of the new contract with Ottawa will arrive in Ukraine in March and that all 200 vehicles will be delivered “by the summer.”

This new shipment, worth about $90 million, complements an additional $500 million in aid announced by Justin Trudeau in the fall. More than $405 million of the amount is spent on upgrading the NASAMS air defense system.

The Senator is an armored personnel carrier (APC). Protected against most ballistic munitions, it is primarily used to transport military personnel in the field.

But each order is modified according to information from Ukrainian forces on the ground, Mr. Shimonov explains. The new version, which Ottawa will send, will be adapted to mount weapons to respond to the attack.

Rochelle’s various types of vehicles find a variety of customers: NASA, the US State Department and the Montreal-based security company GardaWorld.

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