The US is planning to establish a new command base in Germany that will focus entirely on supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
Establishing the command would be part of the Western effort to support Ukraine in the long term, as there are no signs that the war will be ending anytime soon. The command would oversee the arming and training of Ukrainian forces.
US officials told the Times that Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, the top US military officer in Europe, recently submitted a proposal to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on establishing the command. Austin is reviewing the plan and is expected to make a decision in the coming weeks, and the idea is said to be favored by the White House and the Pentagon.
The command would be led by a high-ranking US general and would carry out decisions made by the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a coalition of about 40 countries that was established after Russia’s invasion. Austin has led meetings of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where he’s secured more support for Ukraine.
The command would be established in Wiesbaden, Germany, which is where most of the US training of Ukrainian troops has taken place. The command would also oversee other assistance to Ukraine that has been established elsewhere in Europe, including a mission in Poland where US troops help Ukraine maintain weapons remotely.
While President Biden has insisted no US troops will be sent to Ukraine, establishing a command solely for the purpose of supporting the war is a step in that direction. There’s no indication yet that the possibility is being discussed, but there is reportedly a CIA presence on the ground in Ukraine and some US allies have special operations forces deployed in Ukraine. Members of Congress have called for sending “military advisors” to Ukraine to facilitate the transfer of weapons.