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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.