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US designates Ukraine weapons coordinator

Major-General Terry A. Wolff addresses the US 1st Armored Division, May 11, 2011. (File photo)

A retired US Army general has been designated to help coordinate the massive shipment of American weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, the White House has announced.

US Defense Department’s veteran policy planner Terry Wolff, who previously oversaw Washington’s sponsorship of militants and terrorist groups in Syria to overthrow the Damascus government, was brought onto the National Security Council (NSC) after a group of senators urged US President Joe Biden to put someone in charge of the program, RT reported Saturday, citing a White House spokesman.

Wolff “recently” joined the NSC, the spokesman told reporters on Friday, noting that the retired three-star general had previous experience at the council, as well as at the State Department, the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

According to the report, Wolff spent nearly a decade in Germany and did three tours in Iraq during the US military occupation of the country between 2003 and 2010, including with the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team.

His final assignment before retirement in February 2014 was as 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), an outfit at the National Defense University, but took a sabbatical in November 2015 to serve the Obama administration as the deputy special envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (Daesh).

“His experience as the deputy for the Defeat [Daesh] Coalition will be amazing in making sure this coalition maintains momentum,” one official told CNN.

His appointment came a day after Biden announced he would send another $800 million in weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, including 72 towed artillery pieces to complement the 18 sent out previously.

Wolff’s appointment was praised on Friday by Democratic Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire as well as Republicans Rob Portman of Ohio and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, who described the pick as Biden’s response to their request to do so, made in a letter last week.

It was not clear whether Wolff, in his capacity as the deputy envoy to the anti-IS coalition, had a hand in US programs to ship huge quantities of weaponry to Syrian militants, whether the Kurdish-led SDF militia or al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups that sought to overthrow the government in Damascus.

While the SDF presently controls a large portion of Syria, where around 2,000 US troops are present without international authorization, the “moderate rebels” have been reduced to an enclave in the north, under occupation by Turkish troops.

Russia has informed the US and its allies that any weapons shipment to Kiev would be targeted for destruction. It further sent a diplomatic note to Washington warning of “unpredictable consequences” if the deliveries continued.

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