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The NASMAS anti-missile systems manufacturing plant in Kongsberg, Norway.

The Canadian Press

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says getting battlefield air defense systems in place is the top priority for the new year, but the system Canada promised a year ago still hasn't delivered. not been delivered and we do not know exactly when it will be.

Ottawa announced plans to donate a $406 million surface-to-air missile defense system, known by the acronym NASAMS, on January 10, 2023. Nearly 27 ;a year later, one of the two companies involved in building the NASAMS system says it does not have a contract regarding the Canadian donation.

The plan calls for Canada to pay the full cost of the system to the U.S. government and for the United States to directly enter into a foreign military sales agreement with the United States. Ukraine.

Such an arrangement allows Canada to avoid seeking additional approval from the U.S. government to send the system to Ukraine, which is necessary whenever U.S. military technology is sold outside the country.

Ukraine says medium-range missile systems are essential to defending its territory against Russian bombing. They are capable of shooting down aircraft, drones and cruise missiles.

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Even though Canada paid for the NASAMS system last March, it is still unclear when exactly it will arrive in Ukraine. It's not even clear whether the Ministry of National Defense itself knows when this will happen. A spokeswoman said the ministry was working with its U.S. partners to determine timelines.

President Zelensky is stepping up pressure to make this happen quickly , as he speaks with world leaders at the start of the year.

In a message on the X platform on January 4, he said: Our entire diplomatic team, all those responsible for communicating with partners and all Ukrainian representatives around the world are fully committed to ensuring delivery additional air defense systems and munitions.

This followed a message he posted after a conversation with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on New Year's Eve.

I am grateful to Prime Minister Trudeau for his willingness to help us protect Ukraine's skies, including by providing additional NASAMS systems and missiles.

A quote from Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine

It's unclear whether Mr. Zelensky was referring to the system Canada agreed to pay for last year, or whether the two men talked about a new donation. The Prime Minister's Office declined to answer questions.

The Department of National Defense has not confirmed whether Canada has the x27;intends to provide more NASAMS systems.

We remain in close contact with Ukrainian officials regarding Ukraine's most urgent defense needs, and Canada will continue to show support and respond to these needs by providing comprehensive military assistance, the Gate wrote. – spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense, Andrée-Anne Poulin, in a response sent by email.

Poulin said the US government had signed a contract with weapons manufacturer Raytheon for the NASAMS system.

The system is being manufactured jointly by the American company Raytheon and the Norwegian company Kongsberg. A Kongsberg spokesperson said in an email last week that the company does not have a contract with the United States relating to the Canadian donation.

The procurement authority is still processing the Canadian donation, wrote Ivar Simensen. He did not respond to questions about how long production would take once authorized.

The US Department of Defense signed a contract of US$1.2 billion with Raytheon for NASAMS systems for Ukraine in November 2022 and the public announcement of this contract indicates that the expected completion date is November 2025. p>

A Pentagon spokesperson declined to comment on whether the system fell under this contract or when it would be delivered, instead referring to questions to Canadian officials.

The Canadian Department of Defense does not know or will not say when it plans to deliver the system. Raytheon did not respond to questions.

The US State Department approved a possible sale of foreign military equipment to the Ukrainian government at the end of May, when it informed Congress of the x27;acquisition, the cost of which he estimated at $285 million.

Since then, neither government has made an update public update on the progress of the donation.

However, the procurement process can take months or even years.

US Congress reviews foreign military sales and its committees may suspend the sale during this review period.

Although Congress has the power to block a gun sale through legislation, it has never succeeded in doing so. The Congressional Research Service noted that this sometimes affected the timing and composition of some sales and could have dissuaded the president from formally proposing others.

Joe Biden's administration can completely bypass Congress by conducting emergency arms sales, as it has done twice in the past two months to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons and ammunition to Israel.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a similar emergency declaration to supply munitions to Ukraine in April 2022, but has not done so since.

The Norwegian government announced last month that it plans to donate eight more NASAMS systems from its own stockpiles to Ukraine.

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