US plans to send up to 200 contractors to Ukraine for arms repair work
This matter is of serious concern because it could be an excuse to send US troops disguised as contractors in Ukraine.
Politico revealed on Thursday that a group of former US military officers is planning to send contractors to Ukraine for the purpose of repairing weapons damaged during combat.
This matter is of serious concern because it could be an excuse to send US troops disguised as contractors to Ukraine.
The group lobbying for this plan is made of former US officials and private donors and is headed by a retired army officer named Alexander Vindman.
Vindman was born in Ukraine but immigrated to the US very early in his life.
He is mainly reputed for his role in testifying about former US President Donald Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in 2019 over Hunter Biden's abuse of US military assistance to conduct covert operations in Ukraine.
Read more: Germany to deliver 88 Leopard I tanks to Kiev
Since the start of the Ukraine war, Vindman witnessed developments in arms supply and thought that certain changes ought to be made with regard to maintenance works.
"We’ve got all sorts of resources going into depots and advanced bases in Poland, mainly, and inside Ukraine basically they’re on their own," Vindman said in an interview.
Normally, when weapons or armed vehicles get damaged, they get sent to Poland for maintenance work. But it takes so much time for them to be fixed and then sent back to Ukrainian troops.
If a base gets opened in Ukraine for weapons repair, it would save much more time for Ukrainian troops to receive their weapons back, he argues.
Vindman said his group managed to secure enough funds to launch a pilot project in March and received support from one anonymous company that said they would assist with the provision of materials to Ukraine, the report states.
They are currently looking to find between 100 and 200 experienced contractors willing to take part in the project called Trident Support.
US President Joe Biden has previously said he would not send tanks to Ukraine to avert the start of World War III - but he did that just days ago.
He also previously said he would not send American troops to fight in Ukraine but with groups lobbying for contractors to be sent to Ukraine like Vindman's, things might take another course.
There is also a possibility that "thousands of non-American mechanics qualified to work on US and NATO equipment who could be recruited," the report states.
Read more: Russians gain upper hand in Donetsk
Speaking about the possible scenario of avoiding US contractors getting killed, injured, or captured by Russian forces, Vindman said that there was one way of avoiding this, and it would involve "using what we call ‘third country nationals’ where it’s not American."
"The biggest challenges are that the US government currently is deeply reluctant to put defense contractors on the ground," Vindman said. "That means that people are getting paid to repair stuff in Poland, but that doesn’t satisfy the warfighting capability of the Ukrainians. So this would be a kind of a policy change."
Vindman likened his project to that of Afghanistan and Iraq wherein troops, cooks, maintenance workers, and communication officers were all involved in the process.
"If you’re doing this [project] smartly, and you’re distributing five or six facilities [across Ukraine], you could do this for about 150 to 200 mechanics," set up at various locations, Vindman said.
Moreover, smaller-scale operations are more viable than larger ones because the latter would be easily targeted by Russia. Nearly all of Ukraine's weapons-making facilities were swiftly destroyed in the first weeks of the conflict.
Other issues are addressed in the interview but all in all, the announcement of such a plan makes it possible for the US to get its troops involved directly against Russia.
Read more: Time may be on Russia's side in Ukraine, say Western officials: WSJ