The head of the US army in Europe has told the BBC that Britain exiting from the European Union could lead to an unravelling of the EU, weakening NATO at a time when it need to face up to Russia.
Ben Hodges
© AFP/Scanpix

"The UK is such an important member of the alliance. It is a leader in the alliance. It is a leader in Europe. The most reliable trusted friends and allies we have are all European countries and so what goes on here is of strategic interest to us,” Lieutenant-Genearl Ben Hodges told the BBC.

"Anything that undermines the effectiveness of the alliance has an impact on us, and so if the EU begins to become unravelled there can't help but be a knock-on effect for the alliance also," he said.

He said the vote was a matter for the British public but stressed that he was concerned about the effects of any decision by Britain to leave the EU.

NATO and the EU needed to show solidarity in the face of Russian aggression, said General Hodges, with Russian aggression in Ukraine and its intervention in Syria threatening Europe's security.

He told the BBC that Russia had "weaponised" the migrant crisis by forcing tens of thousands of people to flee to Europe.

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