Allies plan to ramp up production, form new command to arm Ukraine

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The Pentagon is preparing to overhaul how the United States and its allies train and equip the Ukrainian military, New York Times reports. The plan would streamline a system to train Ukrainian soldiers that was created on the fly amid Russia’s February invasion and place it under a new command created in Germany that would be led by a US general, NYT sources say.

US officials told NYT that this move signals that the US expects the Russian threat to Ukraine and its neighbors to persist for many years.

The new command, located in Wiesbaden, Germany (the US Army’s headquarters in Europe) would carry out decisions made by the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a US-led defense coalition of 40 countries helping address Ukraine’s war needs.

NYT reported about plans for the creation of this command one day after the Ukraine Defense Contact Group met in Brussels to discuss how their governments can ramp up production of arms and ammunition.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has exposed the West’s shortage of equipment and munitions needed to sustain Ukraine’s defense against the invading army, an issue that was increasingly brought up by military specialists. The meeting in Brussels means that the West is making plans for long-term support for Ukraine.

NYT reported that delegate discussed gaps in weapons stockpiles and how to coordinate manufacturing to fill them quickly, for fighting that a senior NATO official predicted would reach a critical point in the coming months.

Reportedly, an agreement was reached among multiple countries to buy more ammunition, largely to backfill stockpiles reduced by the war, as part of a longer-term effort to bolster munitions, make them compatible with weapons systems across borders and inject more urgency into a process that the NATO official said is adjusting to a different security environment.

The top priority for the discussions was increasing ammunition for howitzers and rocket artillery, a senior US defense official said, as some of the components Ukraine needs are obsolete, and shortages of ball bearings, microelectronics and other items have created production delays in the United States.

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