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The Maple Leaf and the Trident: Canadian Capacity Building in Ukraine

On June 29, 2021 the NATO Association of Canada hosted a panel discussion with Lieutenant-Colonel Melanie Lake, Task force Commander of Operation UNIFIER and Mr. Rouslan Kats, Counsellor for Political and Public Affairs at the Embassy of Canada in Ukraine. Our esteemed guests discussed the ways in which their work helps to build capacity in Ukraine for both the security forces and civil society.

Click here to watch the recorded discussion on our YouTube channel.

About the Speakers

Lieutenant-Colonel Melanie Lake, Task force Commander Operation UNIFIER

Raised in Churchill Falls, Labrador, LCol Melanie Lake graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 2002 with a degree in Chemical Engineering.

She has been immensely privileged to serve in all three Combat Engineer Regiments in Canada. She began her career in 5 RGC as a Field Troop Comd, served as 2IC 23 Armd Sqn and Operations Officer at 1 CER and was Officer Commanding of 24 Fd Sqn and 25 Sp Sqn at 2 CER before returning to her current job as the Commanding Officer of 2 Combat Engineer Regiment in Petawawa, ON. She had the opportunity to learn from some of the best Sappers and Soldiers in the country and considers herself very lucky for these opportunities.

Outside of Combat Engineer Regiments, LCol Lake served as an instructor at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School, spent time as a HUMINT operator, worked in the Office of the Chief of the Defence Staff as the Senior Staff Officer and oversaw Engineer Operations and Plans at the Canadian Joint Operations Command. She deployed to Afghanistan three times on Op ATHENA and on two domestic operations including as the JTF Comd for Op WINISK. In March 2021, she assumed command of Operation UNIFIER Roto 11. She will return as Commanding Officer of 2 Combat Engineer Regiment following this deployment.

She and her partner Jeff, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer, have a young daughter named Avigail.

Rouslan Kats, Counsellor– Political and Public Affairs, Canadian Embassy in Ukraine

Rouslan Kats (BSc [Physiology], McGill University, 2000) joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 2009. At Headquarters, he has served as Liaison Coordinator for the 2010 G8 and G20 Summits. He then spent two years working on commercial relations with Europe and Eurasia, focusing on bilateral commercial relations with Eastern European and Central Asian states. Overseas, after working in the Embassy of Canada in Warsaw as Trade Commissioner, he served as Political Officer and acting Political Counsellor at the Embassy of Canada in Kyiv in the post-Maidan Ukraine. In 2015-2017, he served as Commercial Counsellor and Senior Trade Commissioner at the Embassy of Canada in Bern. Since August 2017, he is the head of the Political and Public Affairs section at the Embassy of Canada in Kyiv. Before joining the Canadian Foreign Service, Mr. Kats worked for three years for the Ministry of Culture and Communications of Quebec.

NATO Association of Canada
The NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) strives to educate and engage Canadians about NATO and its goals of peace, prosperity and security. The NAOC ensures Canada has an informed citizenry able to participate in discussions about its role on the world stage.