NATO's General Breedlove: A Strong Defence Begins First at Home

NATO's General Breedlove:
A Strong Defence
Begins First at Home

Sofia, November 12 (BTA) - A Strong defence begins first at home
and that means commitment and investment for each NATO member,
NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and Commanding
Officer of Allied Command Operations, General Philip Breedlove,
said here Wednesday during a public lecture for the Bulgarian
Atlantic Club. If NATO is to deal effectively with all emerging
threats, then all of the Alliance's adaptation efforts must be
affordable and sustainable, he said. General Breedlove arrived
on an official visit to Bulgaria on Tuesday.

Answering a BTA question about the lessons for the member states
from the new security challenges, the General said that nations
must be committed to investments which make their militaries
compatible with NATO, capable and trained.

Breedlove described Bulgaria as "an incredible, capable and
vibrant partner of NATO. We look forward to cooperating with
Bulgaria as it works towards modernizing its forces and
remaining capable and interoperable with NATO forces," he said.

According to Breedlove, many nations showed a strong commitment
during the NATO Summit in Wales to stop reducing military
spending and start a programme for increasing it in order to
reach the two per cent (of GDP) goal. It is important for all
member states to remember that these investments are important
for allowing members to remain compatible with and a part of the
Alliance, the General noted.

The guest discussed the current security challenges, saying that
one clear set of new challenges is emanating from the East.
"Russia's actions represent a clear decision by Moscow to reject
the fundamental principles that have shaped international
security for over 25 years. There is no doubt anymore about
Russia's direct military involvement in Ukraine," he said,
adding that NATO allies have a strong role to play for bringing
to light the facts and refute Russia's false narrative.
According to Breedlove, Russia should be held responsible before
the international community for any such further actions in
Ukraine or other places in the region.

The General said that NATO has taken various measures,
explaining that the Ukraine crisis has shown that NATO's current
readiness does not necessarily translate into responsiveness,
which is why the Alliance is working on a series of measures to
allow NATO to respond to future challenges adequately,
effectively and at speed. Breedlove also discussed the problems
stemming from the actions of the so called Islamic State in Iraq
and Syria.

Asked to comment last week's reports about a column of Russian
tanks entering Ukraine, Breedlove said that in the past few days
columns of Russian equipment - primarily tanks, artillery, air
defence systems and combat troops - were seen entering into
Ukraine. "We do not have a good picture at this time of how
many. We agree there are multiple columns," he said, adding that
this was also reported by the Organization for Security and
Co-operation in Europe. The General said, however, that he is
not sure about their intent.

Asked by Ukraine's Ambassador here, Mikola Baltazhi, what NATO's
reaction would be if Russia continues to act in a way which
escalates the situation, General Breedlove recalled the position
that there is not a military solution in Ukraine but there must
be a political one.

The lecture was attended by President of the Bulgarian Atlantic
Club Solomon Passy, former ministers of defence Anyu Angelov and
Angel Naydenov, former foreign minister Kristian Vigenin, the
ambassadors of the United States and Ukraine, senior military
officials, BTA Director General Maxim Minchev. PK/MY


Source: Sofia