Ben Hodges: Russia is beneficial that its actions in Ukraine have gone from the news

Former commander of the U.S. army units in Europe, believes that in the Donbass is 4-5 thousand Russian soldiers

“While the actions of Russia in Ukraine, there is nothing in the news, it helps her to maintain the current situation”, – said the General-the Lieutenant in resignation of Ben Hodges, former commander of US forces in Europe, and now head of Program of Pershing for research in security at the Washington-based Center for European policy analysis.

Famous American military leader spoke Friday with its analysis of the aspects of building European security, among which was called the strengthening of “front-line” Western countries, support for “Atlanticism” – the long-term Alliance of the USA, Canada and Europe, as well as the containment of the Kremlin (and Russia as separately said the General).

According to Hodges, who resigned in December 2017, in the Donbass “is now 4-5 thousand Russian soldiers.” Answering the question of the Russian service “voice of America” the accuracy of these data, the General said: “This kind of conclusion follows from the analysis of data from several sources, but the exact numbers in this case are not so important as they change all the time. In all this is important, because separatists and Russian troops of the Special OSCE monitoring mission is unable to perform his duties in full, and therefore the entire border between Donbas and Russia is completely open. So weapons, equipment, the Russian soldiers and their commanders, all the necessary facilities – all this walking across the border in both directions”.

“If you talk to any Ukrainian officer who fought there, he will tell you about it. But there are many other sources, so I have no doubt, when I bring the data,” said Ben Hodges in conversation with the correspondent of Russian service “voice of America”.

How will operate the country’s West, if Russia will take – about the possibility that some military analysts say – the invasion of Ukraine by the end of this winter to warm up militancy for the success of the presidential campaign of Vladimir Putin? Ben Hodges believes that “the solution to this conflict must be diplomatic, there is no doubt, and to achieve such a solution with Western pressure on Moscow to the West, not just the United States”.

“The United States will achieve restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine in the whole volume – it is the Crimea and the Donbass. But this is not done quickly, we know that this requires a combination of different approaches, it is necessary that many States worked together. Let us remember that the reunification of Germany was the result of diplomatic action, backed by hundreds of billions of dollars for decades, and the fact that NATO stood together. Well, Ukraine this too is what you need to do: maintain the credibility of the West depends on the transparency of its power and seriousness in eradicating corruption,” says Ben Hodges.

Communicating with experts, who came to the Center for European policy analysis on the performance of the former commander of US forces in Europe Ben Hodges stated that delivery of lethal weapons to Ukraine from the USA is extremely important that Russia doubted the possibility of their attack on the neighboring country: “30-40 launchers Javelin will not change the situation fundamentally, but will increase the price for Russia’s possible actions in Ukraine.”

The General reminded that “Ukrainian soldiers are dying every week, despite the declared ceasefire”.

Speaking about one of the ways of strengthening the security of the West in the face of a military threat from Russia, Ben Hodges told the audience that the Russian-Belarusian exercises “West-2017”, held last autumn in Belarus and has become a cause for concern in Western countries, significantly helped analyze their professionals to understand the essence of the Russian maneuvers.

“For example, “West-2017” we understand why Russia conducts maneuvers in order to test their new approaches (the organization of the armed forces – D. G.). NATO needs to adapt to it… Russian troops during the exercise showed that can move large forces really fast. And exercises in Belarus was only part of the large-scale exercises, which were held simultaneously in several places. NATO forces must be able to move faster than the Russian troops. But what is “West-2017″ gave a really good result is in a serious intensification of data exchange between the intelligence services of Western countries,” – said Ben Hodges.

The General concluded that the United States act much more effectively when combined with allies, as the main ally of Ben Hodges called Europe and some European countries: “Germany plays a critical role in the ability of NATO to their borders… The Baltic countries have done a great job in terms of understanding what they can to achieve the best results, and how to adapt it to use in terms of the threat from Russia”.

Hodges emphasized that Russia “needs to reach transparency of its actions” and that “the inclusion of the Russian leadership to their nuclear component of the military exercises is critical in terms of their tactics of intimidation.”