NATO Commander Says Russia Doesn’t Need to Invade to Take Over Eastern Ukraine

Moscow may be able to annex parts of eastern Ukraine without an overt military incursion.

Air Force General Philip M. Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander of U.S. European Command. 
National Journal
Sara Sorcher
See more stories about...
Sara Sorcher
May 2, 2014, 10:47 a.m.

Rus­sia does not need to in­vade Ukraine to take over east­ern parts of the coun­try, NATO’s top mil­it­ary com­mand­er said Fri­day.

In­stead, Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin may be able to an­nex pieces of Ukraine simply by en­cour­aging un­rest among pro-Rus­si­an forces in­side the coun­try, said Air Force Gen. Philip Breed­love, who com­mands U.S. and European NATO forces.

“As little as a week and a half, two weeks ago, I would have put mil­it­ary in­cur­sion as the most likely out­come,” Breed­love told Na­tion­al Journ­al. “Now, I don’t take that op­tion off the table — [Putin] can still use it, his force is im­min­ently pre­pared to do that — but he may be able to ac­com­plish his ob­ject­ives with simply the un­rest his forces are caus­ing in east­ern Ukraine right now.”

Rus­sia has tens of thou­sands of troops sta­tioned along the bor­der un­der the aus­pices of a mil­it­ary ex­er­cise. Ukraine has ac­cused its neigh­bor of in­filt­rat­ing with gun­men mas­quer­ad­ing as loc­al mil­it­ants to seize build­ings and ter­rit­ory in east­ern Ukraine.

While Rus­sia denies this, Breed­love agrees the un­rest in Ukraine is “ab­so­lutely or­ches­trated and em­powered by Rus­sia.” If Putin con­tin­ues to suc­ceed in fo­ment­ing un­rest, and “dis­trust in the Kiev gov­ern­ment,” Breed­love said, “Putin “¦ may nev­er now have to come across the bor­der with the lar­ger land ele­ments.”

What’s hap­pen­ing now in east­ern Ukraine looks eer­ily fa­mil­i­ar to what happened in Crimea. Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s Mar­ina Koren de­tails Rus­sia’s emer­ging play­book for an­nex­ing an­oth­er coun­try’s ter­rit­ory. Un­marked troops once flooded in­to Crimea just as they are seiz­ing parts of east­ern Ukraine now. At first, there were only sus­pi­cions, not of­fi­cial con­firm­a­tion, that they were backed by Mo­scow. Only after Crimea was an­nexed did Putin own up to send­ing troops to oc­cupy and an­nex the ter­rit­ory.

What We're Following See More »
SHARES THEIR LOVE STORY
Bill Clinton Gets Personal in Convention Speech
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

“In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” started Bill Clinton. In his speech Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton brought a personal touch, telling parallel stories of his relationship with Hillary Clinton and the work she has done throughout her career. He lauded the Democratic nominee for her career of work, touching on her earliest days of advocacy for children and those with disabilities while in law school, her role as Secretary of State, and her work in raising their daughter, Chelsea. Providing a number of anecdotes throughout the speech, Clinton built to a crescendo, imploring the audience to support his wife for president. "You should elect her, she'll never quit when the going gets tough," he said. "Your children and grandchildren will be grateful."

LOUD “BLACK LIVES MATTER” CHANTS RING OUT
Mothers Of The Movement Endorse Hillary Clinton
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

A coalition of mothers whose children lost their lives in high profile cases across the country, known as the Mothers Of The Movement, were greeted with deafening chants of "Black Lives Matter" before telling their stories. The mothers of Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis, and Trayvon Martin spoke for the group, soliciting both tears and applause from the crowd. "Hillary Clinton has the compassion and understanding to comfort a grieving mother," said Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin. "And that's why, in the memory of our children, we are imploring you — all of you — to vote this election day."

SOUTH DAKOTA GIVES HER CLINCHING DELEGATES
Clinton Officially Democratic Nominee for President
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

With the South Dakota delegation announcing its delegate count, Hillary Rodham Clinton is officially the Democratic nominee for president, surpassing the 2383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Clinton is expected to speak at the convention on Thursday night and officially accept the nomination.

THE QUESTION
How Many People Protested in Philly Yesterday?
11 hours ago
THE ANSWER

About 5,500, according to official estimates. "The Monday figures marked a large increase from the protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where even the largest protests only drew a couple of hundred demonstrators. But it’s a far cry from the 35,000 to 50,000 that Philadelphia city officials initially expected."

Source:
NO BATTLEGROUND STATES LEAN TRUMP
NY Times’ Upshot Gives Clinton 68% Chance to Win
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

Only a day after FiveThirtyEight's Now Cast gave Donald Trump a 57% chance of winning, the New York Times' Upshot fires back with its own analysis that shows Hillary Clinton with a 68% chance to be the next president. Its model "calculates win probabilities for each state," which incorporate recent polls plus "a state's past election results and national polling." Notably, all of the battleground states that "vote like the country as a whole" either lean toward Clinton or are toss-ups. None lean toward Trump.

Source:
×