In an interview with Defense News, Commander of US Army Europe, Lt. Gen Ben Hodges, putting the entire blame on Russia, said, “I think we all want Russia to come back into the international community. Russia has an important role to play in many places, but nobody thinks it is OK to use force to change the internationally recognized sovereignty of European countries, and the Ukraine is a European country everybody recognized, including Russia. It is only Ukrainians that have died with an EU flag in their hand; they have made their European choice.” Citing unnamed Ukrainians, Hodges said the Russians are involved in jamming communications. “The Russians continue to develop their conventional, high-end, electronic warfare capability.” “The Russians,” he said, “also have the capability to deny access to both the Baltic and Black Seas.”
While Hodges was blaming the Russians for heating up the situation in Ukraine, NATO launched the largest airborne forces’ drills in Europe since the end of the Cold War, the US Army in Europe Command said on Aug. 19, Tass reported. “The multinational maneuvers dubbed Swift Response-2015 involve over 4,800 servicemen from Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the United States and France. The exercises kicked off on Saturday and will last through September 13,” Tass noted.
In addition, a report by Xinhua on Aug. 18 said the 2015 NATO military exercises planned for Dynamic Manta large naval anti-submarine exercises will be held Sept. 11-22. Although the exact location of the exercises has not been revealed, Xinhua said such exercises are generally held in the Ionian Sea. NATO’s 10 countries’ (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States) anti-submarine exercise held last year engaged the use of submarines, surface ships, and aircraft.