The resurgence of a revanchist Russia poses new security challenges for the United States and its European partners, said Air Force General Philip Breedlove, commander of the U.S. European Command.
In a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Breedlove said that since the beginning of 2014, Russia has ceased collaborating with the U.S. and Europe on broad security matters.
Instead, intent on regaining territory it lost when the Soviet Union broke up, Russia has engaged in hybrid warfare to “illegally seize Crimea,” Breedlove said. Russia’s actions have brought about a volatile and fragile situation in eastern Ukraine. These actions “foment separatist fever in several sovereign nations and maintain frozen conflicts within its so-called ‘sphere of influence.’”
He outlined these specific actions:
- Russia has continued to provide separatists support, including “heavy weapons, training and mentoring, command and control, artillery, fire support, tactical- and operational-level air defenses.”
- Russia regularly spreads its propaganda to media abroad to exploit potential sympathetic or aggrieved populations.
- Along with threats and outright force, Russia uses energy to coerce many former-Soviet and Eastern and Central European countries.
While Breedlove said that the U.S. cannot be certain what Russian President Vladimir Putin’s next move will be, his past actions indicate that Russia will be an ongoing security threat.
“We can … learn from his actions, and what we see suggests growing Russian capabilities, significant military modernization and an ambitious strategic intent,” Breedlove said.
Despite Russia’s threats to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Ukraine continues to contribute to security efforts by the international community. Breedlove cited Ukraine’s contributions to U.N. peacekeeping operations around the world, as well as to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, NATO’s Kosovo force and NATO’s maritime operations.
Learn more about the costs of Russia’s actions in Ukraine by following @UnitedforUkr.