The US is moving ahead with setting up a special military command in Germany to coordinate the West's military help for Ukraine.
A high-ranking US general will lead the single new command, the New York Times reported, citing military sources. The proposal was made by the US military's European Command and it is being scrutinized by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
The new command will be modeled after the 'train-and-assist operations' the US military carried out in Iraq and Afghanistan, the report added.
The new development comes at a time when the Ukraine conflict has entered a new phase with Russia formally annexing four regions after holding a referendum. Russia has accused the Nato of orchestrating a proxy war against it.
Two days ago, the US sanctioned an additional $1.1 billion in aid to Ukraine. A vast chunk of the aid money will be used by Ukraine for buying weapons, mostly from the US. The US already spend billions of dollars through its Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, helping Ukraine mount stiff challenge against Moscow in recent months.
Nato Proxy War, Says Russia
With the Pentagon moving in to create a special command based in Germany to directly assist Kyiv, the Russians accusation of Nato's proxy war in Ukraine will be hard to defend against by the US and its allies.
"We are continuously assessing and refining our internal posture and processes to ensure we provide Ukraine with timely, relevant security assistance to meet its most urgent needs on the battlefield and to build its enduring strength to deter future Russian aggression," Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said in an email, according to Sputnik News.
According to the report, the new command will report to General Christopher G. Cavoli and there will be at least 300 officers 'dedicated to the mission'. The command will be set up in Wiesbaden, where the US Army's headquarters in Europe is situated.
The report adds that a lot of training activities for the Ukrainian troops are being held in Germany, where Ukraine troops are trained in US weapons systems. The Wiesbaden facility will coordinate these efforts and pull in the support of the US allies that support Ukraine in the war.
Fresh $1.1 US Billion for Ukraine
"This recognizes the reality of the important mission of security assistance to our Ukrainian partners. This will also create a formal security structure that our allies and partners can adhere to in terms of getting their equipment and training into the hands of the Ukrainians," said Adm. James G. Stavridis, a former supreme allied commander for Europe.
On Wednesday, the Biden administration approved $1.1 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine. The latest aid tranche for Ukraine is the 22nd installment of the US aid package for Ukraine.
Under the latest package, the US will supply, among other things, 18 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS and as well as munitions for those systems. Other weapons to be sold to Ukraine include 150 armored multipurpose vehicles, 150 tactical vehicles to tow weapons and 40 trucks and 80 trailers. The package also includes two radars for unmanned aerial systems and 20 multi-mission radars, according to CNBC.