A retired army general will coordinate billion-dollar military aid to Kiev, White House says
A retired US military general will help coordinate massive efforts to supply Ukraine with weapons and ammunition, the White House said Friday. Veteran Pentagon policy planner Terry Wolff, who previously oversaw Washington’s aid to militants in Syria, was taken to the National Security Council after a group of senators urged President Joe Biden to put someone in charge of the program.
Wolff “recently” joined the NSC, a spokesman told reporters Friday, noting the retired three-star general’s past experiences with the White House, as well as with the State Department, the Pentagon and the Joint Staff.
An armored officer by training, Wolff spent nearly a decade in Germany and made three trips to Iraq between 2003 and 2010, including with the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team. His last assignment before his retirement in February 2014 was Director of Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5) for the Joint Staff for more than two years.
Wolff then joined the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (NESA), a National Defense University team, but took a sabbatical in November 2015 to serve the Obama administration as deputy special envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (aka Islamic State, ISIS).
“His experience as a substitute for defeat” [IS] Coalition will be great to ensure this coalition maintains momentum,” an official told CNN.
The announcement of his appointment comes a day after Biden announced he would send an additional $800 million in weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, including 72 towed artillery pieces to supplement the 18 previously shipped. This has nearly exhausted Congressional approval for $3.5 billion worth of weapons from the US inventory, the White House said Friday, adding that Biden will ask for additional funds next week.
Senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) praised Wolff’s nomination on Friday, describing it as Biden’s response to their request for to do this. , written in a letter last week.
It was not clear whether Wolff, in his capacity as deputy envoy to the anti-IS coalition, had a hand in US programs to send massive amounts of weapons to Syrian militants, or the Kurdish-led SDF militia or what the US government is saying. called “moderate rebels” – al-Qaeda-affiliated groups that attempted to overthrow the government in Damascus.
Current Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was an army general in charge of Central Command at the time and testified before Congress in October 2015 about the poor results of the weapons program. 2016. Subsequent US envoys to the coalition boasted of fueling a “swamp” in Syria for Russia, which sent troops in 2015 to help Damascus against IS and other terrorists.
While the SDF currently controls much of Syria, where about 2,000 US troops are present without international clearance, “moderate rebels” have been reduced to an enclave in the north, under occupation by Turkish troops.
Russia has told the US and its allies that any arms shipment to Kiev would be aimed at destruction, and last week sent a diplomatic note to Washington warning “unpredictable consequences”” if deliveries continued.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February after Ukraine failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The Minsk Protocol established by Germany and France was intended to give the breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself as a neutral country that will never join NATO’s US-led military bloc. Kiev maintains that the Russian offensive was unprovoked and denies that it intended to retake the two republics by force.