New NATO Command Will Assist Ukraine With Training, Equipment Donations

New NATO Command Will Assist Ukraine With Training, Equipment Donations

By John Grady of USNI News

NATO’s leaders are set to approve a separate command at Wiesbaden, Germany, to coordinate training and equipment donations to Kyiv’s forces, a senior administration official told reporters last week.

The command will have about 700 personnel from NATO countries and partner nations assigned to the center, an alliance news release said. The administration officials, speaking to the press Friday, said the center would increase the interoperability among Ukrainian forces and NATO.

As an example of the drive to make Kyiv’s military more interoperable with NATO’s, the administration official said, “the U.S. for more than a year [have] been training Ukrainians on F-16 platforms,” as have other alliance members.

NATO will also facilitate equipment logistics and provide support through the center to the long-term development of Ukraine’s armed forces, the release added.

Last month, the alliance’s defense ministers approved the motion for consideration at the summit in Washington.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said recently that creating the center does “not make NATO a party to the conflict, but they will enhance our support to Ukraine to uphold its right to self-defense.”

The administration official said, “the alliance stood up to President [Vladimir] Putin.” He added that 23 of the 32 nations in NATO are spending more than 2 percent of their gross domestic product on their own security, and some members are calling for a 3 percent threshold. Overall, the alliance has boosted its defense spending by more than $180 billion each year since 2020, he added.

At the defense ministers’ meeting last month, Stoltenberg said, “Over the next five years, NATO Allies across Europe and Canada plan to acquire thousands of air defense and artillery systems, 850 modern aircraft – mostly 5th generation F-35s – and also a lot of other high-end capabilities.”

The center’s creation also could be seen as a means of “institutionalizing” the long-term commitment of Western and Indo-Pacific nations, such as Japan, Korea and Australia, to Ukraine. The support would continue despite changes in administrations as would occur in the United States if Donald Trump is elected and, and changes in governments, as happened in the United Kingdom with Keir Starmer becoming prime minister.

“The long-term effort is to provide a bridge to membership” for Ukraine, the administration official said. He added, “there is a political overlay” to decisions like creating an alliance and multinational center “to help to build Ukrainian future forces.”

The administration official insisted the alliance was stronger than ever with the admission of Sweden to be formally marked in Washington this week. He also cited the North Atlantic Council’s selection of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as the next secretary general. He takes office in October.

The official dismissed Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s meeting with Putin in Moscow as showing alliance weakness. “We’re convinced [the meeting] will not promote the course of peace.” Hungary now leads the Council of the European Union under its six-month presidential rotation policy. It is also a NATO member.

Orban has often broken with the E.U. and NATO on how the war should end. Orban also has repeatedly called for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to consider conceding territory to the Kremlin as the best way to stop the fighting. In addition, he has barred the shipment of donated weapons through Hungary to neighboring Ukraine. He joined with Turkey in delaying Sweden’s admission to the alliance for almost two years.

Also high on the summit’s agenda will be what steps NATO should take regarding China’s underpinning of Russia’s military-industrial base as the war continues. The official noted Beijing is supplying 90 percent of the microelectronics Moscow’s defense industry needs. It also is supplying other dual use high technologies and precision tools for advanced manufacturing.

“This is creating a strong challenge to our European allies,” the official said. He added that the E.U., Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand will be attending the summit as observers. The E.U. and the four Indo-Pacific U.S. allies will participate in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council to discuss mutual security threats from Russia and China that include building resilience in its armed forces and industrial base, cyber, disinformation campaign and technology transfer.

The official said those nations’ attendance, along with the E.U., show the “variable geography” of U.S. global alliances.

The official said a major announcement of defense industry revitalization and expansion would be forthcoming at the meeting, but did not provide details. Nor did he provide details on new arms, beyond saying air defense systems,” would be sent to Ukraine in the coming months.

Tyler Durden
Wed, 07/10/2024 – 05:00

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

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