Nato’s top military commander has warned that Russia is building an “incredible force” on its border with Ukraine, and said the time has come for Western allies to move its own troops to the east.
There are growing fears that President Vladimir Putin may be preparing to follow up the annexation of Crimea with a move into Moldova’s mainly Russian-speaking separatist Transdniestria.
US Air Force General Philip Breedlove, Nato’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said Russia had used “snap” military exercises apparently as a tactic to shift vast numbers of troops towards the border.
Around 10 days ago Moscow launched a new exercise, involving 8,500 artillery troops, near the Ukrainian border – as it had done in the days before Ukraine lost the Crimea region.
“A snap exercise puts an incredible force at a border. The force that is at the Ukrainian border now to the east is very, very sizeable and very, very ready,” he said, speaking at an event held by the German Marshall Fund, a thinktank. [sic]
“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 those forces … such that we can be there to defend against it if required, especially in the Baltics and other places.”
Ukraine is not a Nato member, but Moscow’s intervention in Crimea has caused particular alarm in several ex-Soviet Baltic republics – which are.
Full article: Crimea crisis: Nato commander calls for allies to mobilise after Russia prepares ‘incredible force’ on Ukrainian border (The Independent)