NATO Establishes New Support Headquarters for Ukraine in Wiesbaden, Germany

NATO is establishing a new headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany, to enhance its coordination of military aid and training for Ukraine, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced

by Sededin Dedovic
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NATO Establishes New Support Headquarters for Ukraine in Wiesbaden, Germany
© Omar Havana / Getty Images

The NATO headquarters for support to Ukraine will be located in Wiesbaden, Germany, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Friday after a meeting of alliance defense ministers in Brussels. After Russia's attack on Ukraine in 2022, the U.S.

gathered like-minded nations at its Ramstein Air Base in Germany, forming a group now comprising about 50 nations that regularly meet to respond to Kyiv's requests for weapons. This so-called Ramstein Group will continue to exist as a political forum led by the U.S., but NATO will take over the military level, coordinating weapon deliveries and training for Ukrainian troops, Reuters reported.

Wiesbaden also hosts the headquarters of U.S. armed forces in Europe, which has so far been the main coordinator of military aid to Ukraine. At the end of 2022, the U.S. established a unit of about 300 soldiers there, called the Security Assistance Group-Ukraine (SAG-U).

According to Spiegel, the new headquarters is expected to be located in the Erbenheim district, where the Lucius D. Clay Barracks are situated, from where the U.S. coordinated operations and logistics for the wars in Iraq. The mission headquarters will be led by a three-star general who will report directly to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), and will comprise nearly 700 personnel from NATO and partner countries.

According to Stoltenberg, part of the coordination mission should also be located in the eastern part of NATO. "NATO oversees the training of Ukrainian armed forces in NATO training facilities, supports Ukraine through planning and coordination of donations, manages the transfer and repair of equipment, and supports the long-term development of the Ukrainian armed forces.

These efforts do not make NATO a party to the conflict but will enhance our support for Ukraine to maintain its right to self-defense," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

Launch – Mid-July

Ideally, this project should officially launch in July when 32 NATO heads of state and government meet in Washington to mark NATO's 75th anniversary.

At the summit from July 9 to 11, Stoltenberg aims to initiate new financial assistance for Ukraine. Stoltenberg has asked allies to maintain military aid funding for Ukraine at the same level as in 2022 – around 40 billion euros annually.

Details are still being worked out: how much each country should contribute and to what extent this should be disclosed to the public, Reuters reported. Some allies say contributions should be linked to national GDP, similar to NATO's goal of 2% military spending, with a certain percentage going as military aid to Ukraine each year.

Hungary Not Participating

To prevent Hungary from vetoing these decisions regarding Ukraine, Jens Stoltenberg and Viktor Orban reached an agreement on Wednesday in Budapest: no Hungarians will participate in these NATO activities, nor will Hungarian money be used for them.

This allows all other NATO allies to proceed unhindered with their plans. NATO members are not obliged to participate in alliance activities unless a NATO country is attacked. However, Orban has repeatedly tried to block aid of all kinds at both NATO and EU levels in recent years.

Orban has already announced that he will not support Dutchman Mark Rutte as Stoltenberg's successor in the fall, despite the majority of other NATO countries preferring him. Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government fears the project could push the alliance into direct confrontation with Russia.

"Hungary's stance is different from most NATO members. On the question of how to achieve peace from this wartime situation as quickly as possible, Hungary and others give different answers," Viktor Orban explained.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary© Leon Neal / Getty Images

During the European election campaign, the Hungarian Prime Minister said that only he and his Fidesz party could prevent Hungary from being drawn into a third world war.

Precautionary Measures – Due to Trump

This NATO project is also seen as a precautionary measure in case of a possible return of Donald Trump as U.S. President from January 2025. His past statements have raised doubts about whether the U.S.

would continue to support Ukraine in the same way in its defensive war against Russia. NATO fears that a change in political course in Washington could also affect the coordination of weapon deliveries and training for Ukrainian armed forces.

But diplomats acknowledge that this move may have limited effect, as the U.S. is the dominant NATO force and supplies most of the weapons to Ukraine. Therefore, if Washington wants to reduce Western aid to Kyiv, it can still do so.

Germany Requested a New Name for the Project

The new project is currently called "NATO Security Assistance and Training for Ukraine" (NSATU). Most NATO countries previously voted for the name "NATO Mission Ukraine." However, the German government felt this could be misinterpreted as NATO intending to send troops to Ukraine and feared that Russia could use such a name for propaganda against NATO.

Ukraine Needs Seven Patriots

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, his country needs a total of seven Patriot air defense systems to protect at least all major cities and key energy facilities. Germany promised the third system a few weeks ago, but requests from the German government to allies for another system have gone unanswered.

American media also report that President Biden wants to deliver another Patriot to Ukraine. It is apparently one of the Patriots currently protecting southeastern Poland at the border with Ukraine – the regional airport Rzeszów, which has become the most important hub for Western military aid to Ukraine.

With one more Patriot system each from Germany and the U.S., there would be a total of five in Ukraine – out of the expected seven. Additionally, it is expected that the Ukrainian Air Force will receive its first Western F-16 fighter jets this summer, DW reported.

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