WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2014 —
NATO is examining additional ways it can reassure alliance members who feel threatened by Russia’s on-going actions in Ukraine, including positioning forces in new locations, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe told a German newspaper.
In an interview with Die Welt, Air Force Gen. Phillip Breedlove called Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula a new type of warfare, labelling it the DIME model: diplomatic, informational, military, economic. “In this new hybrid warfare, we see Russia applying all of the elements of national power in a coercive way to affect change in other sovereign nations,” he said.
In February, Russia deployed a large force on its border with Ukraine and the Russian army conducted what were described as exercises near Crimea.
“Let’s just look at eastern Ukraine right now. In a diplomatic sense, the Russians are trying to build these international arguments that it is Ukraine that is causing the problem,” and that Russia needs to step in.
However, Breedlove said Russia continues to threaten Ukraine’s sovereignty and he said NATO allies in Eastern and Central Europe feel threatened by this new warfare as well.
A number of reassurance measures have been put in place including bolstering air policing in the Baltics, added ship visits to the Black Sea, increased infantry exercises in the Baltic Republics as well as the deployment of additional NATO air assets as well as infantry exercises in Poland.
“We’re going to look at … specifically the NATO Response Force,” he said. “We’re going to look at how to … be more prepared in a command and control stance to react to Article 5 defense.”
NATO will also station forces “in the right locations to be able to rapidly respond to this new form of warfare that we see being used,” Breedlove said.
NATO nations must develop the police and military capabilities to deal with this new form of war. “How do we now train, organize, equip the police forces and the military forces of nations to be able to deal with this?” he asked. “It is important … to remember that if we see these actions taking place in a NATO nation and we are able to attribute them to an aggressor nation that is Article 5, and it is a military response.”