3 Mar 2015 - 14:02
A top NATO commander believes it is "essential” the United States (US) "train, advise and equip the national security forces of Georgia” as the country and region focus on maintaining stability and security.
NATO supreme allied commander in Europe and chief of the US European Command, Philip Breedlove, said it was "essential” the US offer support to Georgia and other US partner countries in light of the ongoing instability in the region.
As US partners, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine face a different security challenge from Russia than those facing NATO allies,” he said in report presented to the Senate Armed Forces Committee.
All three countries have implemented political and economic reforms to advance democracy and integrate with Europe. However, their ability to make further progress is significantly constrained by Russian interference and pressure.”
In the report Breedlove said Russia occupied portions of these countries’ territory with its military forces, used economic leverage and energy dependence as coercive measures, exploited minority Russian populations to serve its interests, interfered in democratic processes, engaged in bribery and coercion of government officials, and generated a constant propaganda deluge.
In addition to [all three countries] conducting expeditionary operations and while having differing objectives regarding the scope of their integration with NATO, [Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine] strive to develop military forces meeting NATO standards and interoperability requirements; however, their efforts face a number of challenges, as all three countries require deep institutional reforms to efficiently generate, organize, equip, and sustain their armed forces,” he said.
Post-Soviet countries which aspired to join NATO must also continue and accelerate their transition from Soviet-era systems to modern, NATO-interoperable systems and equipment, said Breedlove.
The report noted there were "growing security concerns” among Central and Eastern European countries that were members of NATO or the European Union (EU), or countries which were seeking closer ties with the trans-Atlantic community.
Having already experienced the use of Russian military force in the 1990s and in 2008, Georgia was "especially threatened” by Russian occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia), said the NATO official in the report.
Russia has signed a ‘treaty’ with Abkhazia and is pushing for another with South Ossetia to increase its influence while hampering Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration. In Moldova, Russian forces have conducted supposed ‘stability operations’ since 1992 to contain the conflict in Transnistria,” he said.
"In fact, Russia deliberately and actively perpetuates these conflicts by manipulating its support to the participants, while engaging in international diplomatic resolution efforts only to the extent necessary to prevent the resumption of all-out violence,’’ he said.