NATO Unveils New Command Structure for Training Ukrainian Troops

NATO Unveils New Command Structure for Training Ukrainian Troops
Gunners from 43rd Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine fire at Russian position with a 155 mm self-propelled howitzer 2C22 "Bohdana", in the Kharkiv region, amid the Russian invasion in Ukraine, on April 21, 2024. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON—NATO is unveiling measures to bolster Ukraine’s defenses against Russian aggression and pave the way for its eventual integration into the alliance.

The world’s largest military alliance will establish a new command to train Ukrainian troops, provide Kyiv with a dedicated representative, pledge $40 billion euros in security assistance, and deliver F-16 fighter jets, according to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

The massive effort was necessary, Mr. Sullivan said, to stop Russia’s “imperialist quest to subjugate and conquer Ukraine.”

Mr. Sullivan announced the measures during the NATO Defense Industry Forum in Washington on July 9. The efforts are designed to provide security to Ukraine “for the long term,” he said.

Perhaps the most costly and complex of the new programs will be the creation of a new military command in Germany, which will be led by a three-star NATO general who will oversee the “training, equipping, and force development” of Ukrainian troops, Mr. Sullivan said.

That training and equipment will not only assist Ukraine in maintaining its defenses but also prepare it for integration into the defensive alliance as a full-fledged member, he said.

Likewise, the new senior NATO representative to be stationed in Kyiv “will deepen Ukraine’s institutional relationship with the Alliance and serve as the focal point for NATO’s senior Ukrainian officials,” Mr. Sullivan said.

Both are elements of a wider suite of projects designed to prepare Ukraine for assuming its responsibilities in NATO should it eventually be admitted to the alliance, which a senior Biden administration official described last week as a “bridge to membership.”

Ukraine cannot currently join NATO for a number of reasons, including the fact that it does not maintain territorial integrity and that it does not have the unanimous support of all 32 NATO nations.

Ukraine is unlikely to garner the necessary support for membership anytime soon, given the hesitancy of some nations, such as Hungary and Turkey, to engage in what they consider deliberately provocative actions toward Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Ukraine should be required to agree to never join NATO as a condition for peace.

Still, the new NATO efforts will likely ensure Ukraine has access to critical security assistance in the long term, regardless of administration changes in the various member states.

Mr. Sullivan described this week’s annual NATO summit as “a productive working session” for the defense industrial base and lauded the alliance’s commitment to industry and military “to strengthen critical Ukrainian air defense capabilities,” including through the provision of additional F-16 fighter jets.

The White House official announced that later in the week, President Joe Biden will convene with more than 20 world leaders who have signed their own bilateral agreements with Ukraine to demonstrate a shared commitment to the nation’s right to sovereignty.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks also spoke at the event and commended the international effort to buttress Ukraine against what she called Russia’s “arsenal of autocracy.”

Though NATO is a defensive alliance, she said, it was necessary to prepare “for the possibility of protracted war” due to the aggression of authoritarian powers such as Russia and China.

“Competitors and adversaries always get a vote,” she said.

From The Epoch Times