Newscast Media BRUSSELS—NATO’s top commander General Philip M. Breedlove said
on Wednesday he feels uneasy that Russia has around 40,000 troops at the Ukraine
border, and if given orders, the Russians could strike Ukraine within a matter of hours.
Despite assuring German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday that Russia was
initiating a withdrawal of its troops, the NATO general is not convinced of the troop
In an interview with the New York Times, General Breedlove said that so far only a
single battalion, a force of 400 to 500 troops, is on the move and that NATO
intelligence could not say whether it was actually being withdrawn.
“What we can say now is that we do see a battalion size unit moving, but what we
can’t confirm is that it is leaving the battlefield,” General Breedlove, of the United
States Air Force, said. “Whether that movement is toward a less belligerent
configuration or returning to barracks, we do not see that.”
Based on the combat readiness of the Russians, Gen. Breedlove said, “We believe
that it can move within 12 hours. Essentially the force is ready to go. We believe it
could accomplish its objective between three to five days.”
Furthermore the general asserted, “I think they have all the opportunities and they
can make whatever decision they want. This is a very large, very well-equipped force
to be called an exercise.”
Meanwhile, Russia continues to squeeze Ukraine in the energy sector, and has raised
the price of natural gas from $264 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas to $385.
Since Crimea became part of Russia, they have begun the transition into the Russian
system including the use of Russian currency, and acquisition of Russian travel