You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

NATO general: Russians capable of quick strike

Apr. 2, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Philip Breedlove
U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, left, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, speaks to colleagues during an April 2 meeting of the North Atlantic Council at NATO headquarters in Brussels. (Virginia Mayo / AP)
  • Filed Under

WASHINGTON — The estimated 40,000 Russian troops poised along the border with Ukraine are capable of executing an attack order on 12 hours’ notice, according to the American general who commands all NATO forces in Europe.

In remarks to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Reuters news agency, Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove said that despite Russian claims it was beginning to withdraw troops, it is not yet apparent that any significant number are leaving the border area.

Breedlove’s statements were confirmed Wednesday by a U.S. defense official in Brussels who is familiar with the general’s comments.

According to the official, Breedlove said the Russian force is well-equipped and capable of achieving Russian military objectives in Ukraine or beyond within three to five days.

In response to Russia’s troop buildup, the U.S. has sought to reassure its NATO allies in Eastern Europe by reinforcing aspects of the U.S. military presence, including the temporary addition of F-16 fighter jets at a training base in Poland.

On Wednesday a Pentagon spokesman, Army Col. Steve Warren, said the U.S. intends to soon send a Navy ship into the Black Sea as an additional gesture intended to underscore the U.S. commitment to defend European allies.

Ukraine is not a member of NATO but is associated with the alliance through other arrangements. On Tuesday two senior American defense officials met with Ukrainian officials in Kiev to discuss the current crisis.

In his interviews with The New York Times and other news organizations, Breedlove highlighted his concern that the Russians may not be carrying out their promised partial withdrawal of troops from the Ukrainian border region.

“What we can say now is that we do see a battalion-size unit moving, but what we can’t confirm is that it is leaving the battlefield,” the Times quoted him as saying. A battalion generally numbers between 500 and 800 troops.

Breedlove said the Russian force is a mix of planes, helicopters, artillery, infantry and commandos. And they are backed up by a considerable support force that would enable the combat forces to move quickly into Ukraine or beyond, he added.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Navy Times

This Week's Navy Times

Go mustang
LDO and warrant careers offer more authority, a pay hike and big retirement payout

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook