According to Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the commanding general of US Army Europe, NATO will be replacing its current strategy focusing on ensuring allied defense with a Russia deterrence strategy.
"It is a top priority for us to prevent ongoing Russian aggression,” said Hodges in an interview with Ukrainian news portal Hromadske. “The NATO Warsaw Summit will evidently show that the alliance will be switching over from ensuring security to deterrence.”
The general did not go into detail regarding the new strategy as he is responsible for its military component. “I don’t know initially what it will look like,” he said. “My task as commander is to ensure that the military is prepared to fulfill its part of the task — weapons, artillery, engineers and so on.”
Hodges said that the US Army Europe has focused entirely on readiness to support its partners and friends as well as showing willingness to carry out its tasks. Among other things, NATO instructors have been training Ukrainian soldiers, which will continue in August, and NATO presence in Poland and the Baltics will be expanded in June.
According to the commanding general, allied troops will be joined by a tank brigade in early February which will include approximately 4,000 soldiers as well as tanks and artillery.
“They will be stationed for nine months in Poland, the Baltic States, Romania and Bulgaria,” explained Hodges, adding that they will begin taking part in military exercises in each respective country. “Occasionally the troops will assemble to demonstrate how quickly they are capable of moving on, after which they will return. They will do this for nine months, after which they will be replaced by a new brigade together with their weapons — which will be rotated out as well after nine months.”
Commenting on examples of Russian aggression in Europe, the lieutenant general noted, “To this day there are 7,000 Russian troops present in illegally occupied Georgian territory. The Russian military is still present in Transnistria. They continue to occupy Crimea and fight in Donbass.”
Hodges added that there is much Russia could do to lessen other nations’ concerns, but they want to be regarded as a superpower. “They must act like a superpower,” noted the commanding general, however. “[They must] act responsibly and seek ways to reduce NATO concern.”
Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik