US Army Europe’s commander Lt. Gen. Frederick “Ben” Hodges has described Russia as a very real threat, saying his country is ready to defend its allies in Europe.
“So we are going to work very hard to make sure that all of our allies are confident that the rest of the alliance will be there if ever needed,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“That’s going to continue,” Hodges added.
The general made the comments at the USAREUR change-of-command ceremony in Germany.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is a pivotal time in the history of US Army Europe and NATO. Next week is the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain,” he said.
Hodges explained that USAREUR played a decisive role in achieving that result, and his command and its partners now face a “resurgent Russia that has illegally annexed Crimea and which threatens our friends and allies.”
The incoming commander also claimed that the threat from Russia would require a trained, ready and resilient USAREUR to assure our allies and to “deter Russia from further encroachment.”
Russia’s actions have created ambiguity, he told reporters following the ceremony.
“They twist the law. They use legal instruments to create uncertainty. I am sure that Russia’s No. 1 priority is to fracture our great alliance,” the general was quoted as saying by Stars and Stripes.
On Monday, the top US general in Europe, Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, also announced that American troops should remain in Europe and additional rotational forces are also needed as the region is threatened by “revanchist Russia.”
There are currently about 67,000 American troops in Europe.
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