News / Europe

NATO Commander: Alliance Must Reconsider Russia Relationship

NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe U.S. General Philip M. Breedlove (R) speaks with Ukraine's acting Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval (2nd L) during a meeting of NATO defense ministers in the format of the North Atlantic Council with Non-ISAF contribut
NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe U.S. General Philip M. Breedlove (R) speaks with Ukraine's acting Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval (2nd L) during a meeting of NATO defense ministers in the format of the North Atlantic Council with Non-ISAF contribut
NATO's military commander says the alliance must reconsider its force positioning and readiness because of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove says that for more than a decade the United States and its allies have viewed Russia as a partner.

"And NATO has taken decisions in force structure, force readiness and force positioning based on that, that Russia would be a partner. Right now, Russia is acting like anything but a partner," he said. "So we will need to revisit those decisions."

In recent months, he says, NATO saw Russia mass troops along the border of Ukraine and forcibly annex Crimea. That means the alliance will have to adapt.

"That changes the way we do the business. So we are now reevaluating how we do these things as it relates to force readiness, responsiveness and positioning," he said.

The general spoke Thursday with VOA journalist Henry Ridgwell, following events to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied D-Day invasion of France in World War II.  

Breedlove says that as the NATO military commander, he has been asked to develop "reassurance measures" to help shore up military readiness and cooperation with the Baltic nations and Poland. Those NATO states border Russia and are concerned that Moscow might try assert claims to their territory.

"We have a robust response, a very fast, dramatic response of our air forces forward to pick up air policing and air defense," he said. "We now have a strong showing and a very sustainable force posture on the maritime. And during the recent defense ministerial which I just returned from literally yesterday, pledges by many nations for good, strong, land presence in a temporary or exercise fashion."

Those programs will continue throughout this year, and Breedlove says, NATO leaders may decide to extend them at their summit in September.

He says NATO is engaging with Ukrainian officials, to help build its defense capacity. But he said it is not up to NATO to bring nations into the alliance. Countries must ask for that, and meet conditions to join. And he says, NATO understands that Russia would see membership for Ukraine as a "step toward Russia" for the alliance.

The general also spoke of the ceremonies on Thursday and Friday to mark the June 6, 1944 D-Day landings - when tens of thousands of Allied troops stormed the Normandy beaches. With the surviving veterans now in their 80s and 90s, the general says it is crucial for the memories of that war be passed on.

And he says he will never forget the 92-year-old veteran of the landing who marched alongside him, with NATO troops, in commemoration ceremonies.

"When we started marching, he was focused on the soldiers in front of them, his fingers were curled, his cadence was perfect and he was matching their marching and it was a great source of pride to him," he said. "How do you share that with people if you don’t get to walk alongside someone like that?"

Other NATO ceremonies Thursday and Friday brought together the nations that defeated Nazi Germany in World War II. Among the dignitaries attending were U.S. President Barack Obama, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Cayman
June 08, 2014 8:53 AM
Historically Crimea is a Russian territory. And Russia did not take this territory back with power. There was the decision made by Crimea citizens by referendum to not be anymore Ukrainian territory because of unstable political situation. And they wanted to be again part of their motherland country. Why do politicians do not want to hear the opinion of their people?
And I just could not understand why NATO is putting their noses in this? They allied to solve the problems of the participants of this union. Ukraine was never being a part of this ally. So could we say that the real goal of the NATO is not the same as they all declare?


by: gen from: japan
June 07, 2014 8:48 AM
I think the Ukraine unrest is unrelated to NATOt.The Ukraine unrest happened because of the kiev government's bad politics.It ignored the opinion of the east part of Ukraine,because of the right sectors brutal acts supported by US,because of
the rebel business by US,because of the kiev government propaganda for seeking the support of the West.NATO don't need build up arms.If NATO want
to flourish the military business,it would be a anther story.Why didn't the commander say he want war business?
It would be more honest to say so.
I understand that easily.


by: Mark from: Virginia
June 07, 2014 6:09 AM
NATO is a relic from the Cold War, it should have been dismantled when the Soviet Union broke up, as it was created to counter the Soviet threat. Well, there are no Soviets anymore (despite how Putin is acting now, they are still far from what the Soviets used to be), and so there should no longer be any need for NATO.
If we had considered Russia as a partner, then NATO should have been even more obsolete. Why worry about troop positions and readiness when you considered Russia a partner? If anything, it continued the line of distrust between East and West by holding onto an organization that remains to be a reminder of how things USED to be, not how things were supposed to be headed.
You don't treat a 'partner' like that, holding onto distrust and wariness like that. So, it really is not that surprising that these crises have arisen when one side is still using doctrines and practices of an earlier time that is no longer needed, and the other side never was allowed the full trust and friendship of a partnership that the West never fully embraced. Once again, the West created this situation and is now blaming the 'other side' for actions it helped create.
When will we ever learn?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid