aA
Central and Eastern Europe needs real, not symbolic capacities to deter Russia, according to US Army Europe Commander Lieutenant General Ben Hodges.
Lieutenant General Ben Hodges
Lieutenant General Ben Hodges
© DELFI.ee

"I won't speculate on what the decisions might be about enhanced foreign presence but what I will say is – the advice I've given and what I think is required to achieve is actual deterrence. Not symbolic, but actual deterrence," Hodges said at a conference Sustaining NATO's Strength and Deterrence in Vilnius on Monday.

The US general spoke ahead of the meetings of NATO defence ministers and the Alliance's summit, which may result in decisions to step up the Allied military capacities in Central and Eastern Europe, including the Baltic states.

"Deterrence requires real capability, the real war fighting organizations that could cause any potential adversary to say 'we might fail' or 'don't wanna do it because the cost would be too high'," said Hodges.

"That means homogeneous organizations, with all the enablers, joint capabilities," he added.

Russia is a needed member in the international community, he said, but it cannot play a constructive role at the moment due to Moscow's "sole respect for power."

He emphasized that about 7,000 Russian troops were stationed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two territories viewed by the international community as Georgian regions occupied by Russia.

In Hodges' words, about 20,000 Russian troops are currently present in the Crimea peninsula occupied by Russia, and about 20 Ukrainian soldiers were last week killed during clashes with Moscow-supported separatists in Eastern Ukraine, regardless of ceasefire agreements.

"This is a serious challenge, this is not an academic exercise and the only way we keep it from becoming a real crisis is if we stick together, the Alliance stick together and demonstrate that we are committed," the US general noted.

He added that Lithuania had been meeting the commitments assumed during the last NATO Summit in Wales by not only boosting its defence spending but also by organizing exercises and developing its Armed Forces.

Ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, the three Baltic states seek deployment of an international Allied battalion of about 1,000 soldiers in each of their territories. NATO's Military Committee has given a green light to stationing such units in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland.

The Alliance has also confirmed plans to increase its military presence in Eastern Europe in response to Russia's actions.

After Russia annexed Crimea, NATO's air policing mission to guard the Baltic skies was stepped up in 2014, in addition to a higher number of military exercises in the region and opening of small NATO staffs in every Baltic state.

The United States send rotational company of troops to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland. Following Russian actions in Ukraine, other Allies have also increased the frequency of sending forces to joint exercises, albeit not on a regular basis.

BNS
It is prohibited to copy and republish the text of this publication without a written permission from UAB „BNS“.
|Populiariausi straipsniai ir video

Tensions with president push PM's rating further down

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis ' popularity rating has dropped further down amid the...

President proposes nine legislative initiatives for Seimas spring session

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has proposed including nine legislative initiatives into the...

People returning to Lithuania from China advised to avoid contact

People who have returned from China where the new COVID-19 coronavirus is spreading are advised to...

EU leaders fail to agree on new budget: Nausėda hopes for decision over month

EU leaders on Friday failed to agree on the Community's 2021-2027 budget amid disagreements over its...

Vilnius district municipality backs further asphalt-paving of PM's street

Vilnius District politicians on Friday decided to endorse a strategic activity plan for 2020–2022...

Top news

Kazakh student got “Vilnius” tattoo and honed cooking skills

Having won a Lithuanian State Scholarship , Kazakh student Adil Karim from Almaty came to...

President proposes nine legislative initiatives for Seimas spring session

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has proposed including nine legislative initiatives into the...

Experience Lithuanian culture: Užgavėnės in Kaunas

In Lithuania, we call the holiday Užgavėnės, which can be loosely translated into ‘Before fasting...

Leader in gaming and VR platforms to undergo major expansion in Lithuania

Unity Technologies , creator of the world’s most widely used real-time development platform for...

Vietnamese student feels happy living in Vilnius: back home I wear mask every day

Vietnamese student Tri Huynh Viet Minh from Saigon is full of curiosity. Having won a scholarship...

|Maža didelių žinių kaina