Washington and NATO control the narrative. Here, Lt. Gen. Hodges meets with “defense writers”, and tells them the spin.
Was he able to talk about diplomacy with a straight face?
From Rick Rozoff
U.S. Department of Defense
March 19, 2015
Army Commander in Europe Details Assurance Efforts
By Jim Garamone
WASHINGTON: Thirteen months after Russia began its occupation of Crimea, the United States and its European allies must remain steadfast against the threat such actions pose, the commander of U.S. Army Europe said here this week.
Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges told the Defense Writers Group at a March 17 breakfast that the Russian action of illegally annexing Crimea from Ukraine and its continuing threat to the eastern part of Ukraine is a game-changer on the continent.
Atlantic Resolve Enables Cooperation
…Hodges told reporters to think of Atlantic Resolve as a continuous series of exercises, with American troops operating with troops in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, demonstrating America’s commitment to the defense of these NATO allies. Later this month, Atlantic Resolve exercises will expand to include Bulgaria and, later in the year, Romania, he said.
An airborne battalion from Vicenza, Italy, will jump into Romania and link up with a Stryker squadron coming by rail from Vilseck, Germany, Hodges said. “That will begin the introduction of [Operation Atlantic Resolve] into the south,” he added.
U.S. Army Europe also is working with countries in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, including Georgia and Ukraine. Beginning next month, troopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade will train Ukrainian Interior Ministry troops, and in May, U.S. paratroopers and tankers will exercise in Georgia, Hodges said.
Using Diplomatic, Economic Pressures
Reporters pressed Hodges on whether the United States should provide weapons to Ukraine. He said he can see both sides of the argument, but that the focus should not be on the weapons decision. “The focus should be on what is the desired end state, and can we get there using diplomatic and economic pressures and support,” he said.