NATO general Philip Breedlove says more NATO troops are needed in eastern Europe (photo: twitter)
NATO should boost its presence in eastern Europe amid growing security challenges in the region, NATO general Philip Breedlove has said.
Breedlove said he was asking the Pentagon for more troops and equipment in Europe amid fears of a growing resurgent Russia, the Defense News service reports.
"Because of the increased pressure that we feel in Eastern Europe now, and because of the assurance measures that we are taking in the Baltics, in Poland and in Romania, we require additional rotational presence," Breedlove said.
He warned that the NATO alliance was nearing a "strategic inflection point" with Moscow over Ukraine, and that seven Russian brigades have nearly done away with parts of the border in eastern Ukraine.
A Russian convoy reportedly entered eastern Ukraine on Sunday amid rebel held elections.
Pro Russia rebels conducted elections in Donetsk and Luhansk on Sunday night with significant wins for pro Russia rebel leader Alexander Zakarenchko. Western leaders have denounced the elections.
Baltic officials have been on edge amid the crisis in the Ukraine, worried that similar Ukraine style scenario may be repeated in its region.
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, however, blasted NATO for its limitless expansion in eastern Europe and claimed it was breaking the rules.
"Instead of making OSCE a normal organization, which would become a real security organization, ensuring security for everyone, our western colleagues took the course of thoughtless, limitless NATO expansion, telling us directly, that legal security guarantees can only be given to those who join the North Atlantic Alliance," Lavrov said in an interview with the Life News TV channel and the Izvestia newspaper, cited by Voice of Russia.
NATO top commander general Philip Breedlove (photo: creative commons)