The Defense Department is setting up a new command to oversee how the United States and its allies train and equip the Ukrainian military, the Pentagon announced on Friday along with a new package of $400 million in security assistance.
The Pentagon’s commitment to supplying Ukraine with weaponry and the new command are clear signals that the United States expects the threat from Russia to Ukraine and its neighbors to persist for many years, current and former senior U.S. officials said.
The command will “ensure we are postured to continue supporting Ukraine over the long term,” Sabrina Singh, deputy Pentagon press secretary, told reporters at a news briefing. “We remain committed to Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
In the military, a command is a focused organization dedicated to a particular geographical or strategic area. The new command, called the Security Assistance Group-Ukraine, or SAG-U, will based in Germany and within the structure of the Pentagon’s European Command. With a staff of about 300 people, it will be focused on one mission: to help train and equip Ukraine’s military.
The new command will streamline a training and assistance system that was created on the fly after the Russian invasion in February. The Times reported in September that the new structure was in the works. [Continue reading…]
The Biden administration is privately encouraging Ukraine’s leaders to signal an openness to negotiate with Russia and drop their public refusal to engage in peace talks unless President Vladimir Putin is removed from power, according to people familiar with the discussions.
The request by American officials is not aimed at pushing Ukraine to the negotiating table, these people said. Rather, they called it a calculated attempt to ensure the government in Kyiv maintains the support of other nations facing constituencies wary of fueling a war for many years to come.
The discussions illustrate how complex the Biden administration’s position on Ukraine has become, as U.S. officials publicly vow to support Kyiv with massive sums of aid “for as long as it takes” while hoping for a resolution to the conflict that over the past eight months has taken a punishing toll on the world economy and triggered fears of nuclear war. [Continue reading…]