US NATO Commander warns of new Russian offensive in Ukraine

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Posted in category Eurasia, Eurasia News
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imgThe top U.S. commander for NATO said Thursday that America needs better intelligence on the ground in Ukraine, but that it appears Russian forces have used a recent lull in fighting to reposition for another offensive.

Gen. Philip Breedlove, commander of NATO forces in Europe, told the Senate Armed Services Committee, that the situation in Ukraine is volatile and fragile and urged Congress to bolster U.S. intelligence capabilities to better understand President Vladimir Putin’s intent in the region.

“Russian military operations over the past year in Ukraine, and the region more broadly, have underscored that there are critical gaps in our collection and analysis,” Breedlove said. “Some Russian military exercises have caught us by surprise and our textured feel for Russian involvement on the ground in Ukraine has been quite limited.”

He said the number of Russia intelligence experts has dwindled since the Cold War and intelligence assets of all kind have been shifted to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We cannot be fully certain what Russia will do next and we cannot fully grasp Putin’s intent. What we can do is learn from his actions,” Breedlove said. “What we do see suggests growing Russian capabilities, significant military modernization and an ambitious strategic intent.”

“Russian forces used the opportunities presented by the recent lull in fighting to reset and reposition while protecting their gains,” he said. “Many of their actions are consistent with preparations for another offensive.”

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