HomeNewsArticle Display

Breedlove: Russian actions bring Europe to decisive point

Gen. Philip M. Breedlove provides a U.S. European Command update during a news conference June 30, 2014, at the Pentagon. Breedlove is NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe and the commander of EUCOM. (Courtesy photo/Glenn Fawcett)

Gen. Philip M. Breedlove provides a U.S. European Command update during a news conference June 30, 2014, at the Pentagon. Breedlove is NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe and the commander of EUCOM. (Courtesy photo/Glenn Fawcett)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The aggressive actions by Russia in Ukraine have brought Europe to perhaps the most decisive point since the end of the Cold War and additional rotational forces may be needed on the continent for the sustained presence now envisioned, the top U.S. commander in Europe said June 30.

Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, the NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe and the commander of U.S. European Command, told reporters at the Pentagon that Russia's actions show just how important it is to maintain a forward presence in Europe to reassure the nation's partners and allies.

About seven Russian battalion task groups remain on the border with Ukraine, he said, as well as numerous special operations forces.

"That's not a helpful development in what it brings to the problem," the general said.

Russian regular military forces are facilitating the movement of forces, equipment and finances across the Ukrainian border, he said.

"Russian irregular forces are very active inside eastern Ukraine," Breedlove said. “Russian-backed forces are active inside eastern Ukraine. And Russian financing is very active inside eastern Ukraine.”

President Barack Obama's $1 billion European Reassurance Initiative will sustain U.S. forces in Europe and assist in protecting national security interests, the general said.

"It's too early to lay out the details of what we will do," he said, "but it will cover increased and enhanced training, readiness, exercises, and necessary facility improvements that we will need in order to conduct quality training and readiness activities with all of our allies and partners.

The training efforts will now fall under Operation Atlantic Resolve, the general added.

"In this operation, we will continue to demonstrate our continued commitment to the collective security of NATO and dedication to the enduring peace and stability in the region, in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine specifically," Breedlove said.

The situation in Ukraine changes some long-held expectations in the region, he said.

"For the last 12 to 14 years, we've been looking at Russia as a partner,” Breedlove said. “We've been making decisions about force structure, basing investments, et cetera, et cetera, looking to Russia as a partner.”

Now, the situation is very different, he said, and there's a new baseline for the conversation about U.S. capacity and capability in Europe.

Atlantic Resolve will demonstrate the United States' solemn commitment to the collective defense of all NATO allies, Breedlove said.

"Our ability to respond quickly to reassure our European allies and partners was enabled by our forward-stationed forces and the force structure we have in place now," the general said.

Breedlove said he believes the current force structure in Europe is about right, but additional forces may be needed to cover the sustained, persistent presence that is now being envisioned.

"We are proud carriers of a legacy that began just over 70 years ago on the shores of Normandy. That legacy has endowed us with the NATO alliance and steadfast relationships with incredible allies and partners who have fought alongside of us in almost every conflict," the general said.

"It is indeed a momentous time in Europe," Breedlove continued. "But with the support of our partners and allies, we will face these challenges like we have in the past -- together -- and build a safer, more secure Europe."

Engage

Facebook Twitter
WATCH: @GenDaveGoldfein and @cmsaf18 live at @AirForceAssoc's Air Warfare Symposium, tomorrow on… https://t.co/dGlnwNSJC1
Airmen line up a missile in a hot refuel & reload operation. Hot reloading an air frame minimizes aircraft downtim… https://t.co/h47AHYGPKS
The advanced reconstruction program at @WrightPattAFB Medical Center is helping patients with significant leg wound… https://t.co/Wgq3JeJ231
“Always know that you are always preparing yourself. You are preparing yourself by being here. You’re living your f… https://t.co/B1ol3334Td
If it's in the air, maintenance put it there! Airmen Duncan completes a post-flight inspection of a KC-135 Stratot… https://t.co/IAdPmkLKqS
And, take off! 🚁 Airmen perform pre-flight checks for lift-off of the first test flight of the Air Force’s newest… https://t.co/f6X0jHjAeJ
Multinational exercises enhance coordination of combined air tactics, hone techniques and procedures while strength… https://t.co/xFiSObRaRI
The winner for this year's Spark Tank Competition will be decided this week at the Air Force Association's Air Warf… https://t.co/okbnkdzTeO
RT @SecAFOfficial: Katherine Johnson was a trailblazer. She was dedicated to her craft & excelled, despite racial & gender barriers. She en…
RT @HQ_AFMC: Making every 💰💲 count...as the @usairforce rebuilds @TeamTyndall from #HurricaneMichael, collaboration with community partners…
Aggressor on the move. #DYK Aggressor pilots employ tactics against other #USAF pilots that emulate potential adver… https://t.co/aRmclBhRN6
#ICYMI Friday, @SecAFOfficial outlined #AirForce #FY21 budget priorities and strategies for working with other serv… https://t.co/FeEseiME6u
Aircrewman fires a 50-caliber machine gun from an MH-60 Knighthawk during Cope North 2020. Cope North is an annua… https://t.co/Ugko7OpjQF
Airmen undergo egress training during Emerald Warrior 20-1. This training prepares special ops forces, force enabl… https://t.co/cwcC1agubh
RT @AETCommand: BIG change to the @usairforce's special warfare recruiting & initial training pipeline aimed at ensuring enlisted recruits…
This HGU-55/P helmet is fitted with a Hybrid Optical-based Inertial Tracker and day visor at Moody Air Force Base,… https://t.co/rMzsO03MLL
BRRRRRRTT The @A10DemoTeam travels the world showcasing the unique capabilities of the Thunderbolt II. The… https://t.co/giQWIwD0rA
Congratulations to @388fw and @419fw for reaching "full warfighting capability" with the F-35A Lightning II ✈️… https://t.co/5BwOupKSU7
Easy like Sunday morning. https://t.co/7Yp9fKDHnn