News

2017.03.01 13:51

Head of the US forces in Europe speaks of NATO deterrence measures against Russia

Algirdas Acus 2017.03.01 13:51

Commander of the US Army in Europe during his visit in Vilnius, on Wednesday 1st March, called on the Russians to lower the anxiety through transparency during the upcoming military drill Zapad.

Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, commander of the United States Army in Europe, held talks with Lithuanian Minister of Defence Raimundas Karoblis and Chief of Defence of Lithuania Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas  Žukas, focused on NATO deterrence measures against Russia.
 

‘We did not think we even needed tanks in Europe anymore, because we saw Russia as a partner. With Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea, their other activities, obviously we realized we need to bring our armour back to Europe for deterrence’, said Ben Hodges adding that the same thing is true for air and missile defence.
 

Commander of the US Army in Europe took the opportunity to call on the Russia to lower anxiety during upcoming military drill Zapad.
 

‘I would encourage the Russians to invite media, invite observers, more than just the minimum required by Vienna protocol, but in a spirit of transparency and stability to invite more transparency for what they are doing and I think that would lower the anxiety’, said Hodges.
 

He also anticipated that NATO countries will not take any provocative actions during Russian military drills.
‘Just like NATO forces are always ready, strong, and professional, disciplined, but not in something that would be seen as provocative or mirroring Russian exercise. I think that would be very important’

Sound bite (English)

Lieutenant General BEN HODGES, Commanding General of the US Army in Europe:

I know there is anxiety about the Russian exercises Zapad that will take place in September, deployment begins in August. So I would call on the Russians to lower the anxiety through transparency. For the Russians to invite media to participate, to see that exercises the way the West, the way the NATO invites media to observe everything that we do. I would imagine that nobody here has ever been invited for Russian exercises. So I would encourage the Russians to invite media, invite observers, more than just the minimum required by Vienna protocol, but in a spirit of transparency and stability to invite more transparency for what they are doing and I think that would lower the anxiety.
 

Cutaway
 

Sound bite (English)

Lieutenant General BEN HODGES, Commanding General of the US Army in Europe:

Secondly, I anticipate that the nations will want to have a unified posture that is seen as professional, ready, but not provocative. Almost business as usual. Just like NATO forces are always ready, strong, and professional, disciplined, but not in something that would be seen as provocative or mirroring Russian exercise. I think that would be very important.
 

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

JONAS VYTAUTAS ŽUKAS, Chief of Defence of Lithuania:

We increase the number of our soldiers, strengthen our defensive capabilities, broaden military and training infrastructure, improve readiness and coordination with the Allies, and we train military reserve by means of conscription.
 

Sound bite (English)

Lieutenant General BEN HODGES, Commanding General of the US Army in Europe: