Thursday

29th Sep 2016

Nato general warns about Moldova, Baltics

  • Nato tried to partner with Russia, but Moscow is behaving like an adversary (Photo: German Marshall Fund)

Nato’s top general, Philip Breedlove, has warned that Russia has amassed enough troops on the eastern Ukrainian border for a new invasion and said Nato will mobilise troops to defend the Baltics if need be.

"The force that is now at the Ukrainian border - to the east - is very, very sizeable and very, very ready. You cannot defend against that if you are not there to defend against it. So I think we need to think about our allies, the positioning of our forces in the alliance and the readiness of the forces so we can be there to defend against it if required, especially in the Baltics," he said on Sunday (23 March) at the Brussels Forum, an event organised by the German Marshall Fund, a think tank.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He noted that Russia could no longer be trusted to respect national borders when it carries out military exercises.

"We saw several snap exercises executed in which large formations of forces were brought to readiness and exercised and then they stood down. And then as we have all seen, a snap exercise with large formations brought into readiness and boom, into Crimea, they went, with a highly prepared force," Breedlove said.

He also warned the current number of troops amassed along the eastern Ukrainian border may pose a threat for Moldova and its separatist region of Transniestria, which last week requested to be incorporated into Russia on the Crimean model.

"There is absolutely sufficient force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Transnistria if the decision was made to do that and that's very worrisome,” he said

"When we talk about threat in the military, we marry capability with intent. We know the capability absolutely exists to do that and cause that problem. We see some of the same rhetoric used before going into Crimea so if that's the first indication of intent, that's very worrisome," he added.

What Nato states may consider doing is to move troops and hold war games closer to Russia, the general indicated.

He noted that the military alliance already moved fighter jets from Italy and the UK to Poland and the Baltic states and moved some of its warships into the Black Sea.

Breedlove said Nato has been trying to partner with Russia, but Moscow is now "behaving like an adversary."

His last contact with his Russian counterpart, general Valery Gerasimov, was on the day after the invasion of Crimea began.

"I will try to maintain that line of communication, we will insist from each other truth in what we speak. Sometimes we don't see truth in the same way," he said.

In Moscow, deputy defence minister Anatoly Antonov said Russia is in compliance with international law on troop limits and said international inspectors had conducted missions in the last month to check on Russian troop movements.

"We have nothing to hide there," Antonov was quoted by state news agencies as saying.

Opinion

The EU’s new offer to Africa

The European Commission’s plan for a multi-billion African investment vehicle is mainly another incentive for African leaders to give higher priority to border management.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceWhy the Investment Plan for Europe Does not Drive the Sustainable Energy Transition
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region Seeks to Make Its Voice Heard in the World
  3. Taipei EU OfficeCountries Voice Support for Taiwan's Participation in ICAO
  4. World VisionNew Tool Measuring Government Efforts to Protect Children Released
  5. GoogleDid You Know Europe's Largest Dinosaur Gallery Is in Brussels? Check It Out Now
  6. IPHRHuman Rights in Uzbekistan After Karimov - Joint Statement
  7. CISPECloud Infrastructure Providers Unveil Data Protection Code of Conduct
  8. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  9. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  10. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List
  11. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  12. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?