The U.S. should consider providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine against the aggression of Russia, Curtis Scaparrotti, Commander of U.S. European Command (Eucom), has said.
Mr. Scaparrotti, a general who is also the Supreme Allied Commander, NATO Allied Command Operations, Europe, stated this when he testified before the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee in a hearing focused on Russia.
A statement issued by the Department of Defence quoted the general as saying that the Eucom Mission far outpaced Russia’s equipment modernisation.
According to him, European Theatre is the site of political volatility and economic uncertainty compounded by threats that are transregional, multidomain and multifunctional.
Mr. Scaparrotti, who canvassed that the U.S. must come to Ukraine’s aid, said: “They (Ukraine) are fighting a very lethal, tough enemy; it’s a Russian proxy, really – and the Russians provide some of their newest equipment there in order to test it.
“We must not only match, but outpace the modernisation advances of our adversaries.
“We must invest in the tools and capabilities needed to increase effectiveness across the spectrum of conflict.
“And we must ensure that we have a force that is credible, agile and relevant to the dynamic demands of this theatre.”
Mr. Scaparrotti said Eucom’s focus areas for investment were intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance collection platforms, land force capabilities, enhanced naval capabilities for anti-submarine and strike warfare as well as amphibious operations.
He said others were prepositioned equipment and enhanced missile defence systems.
The Eucom’s commander warned that Russia was pushing against international norms.
“In 2014, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and occupation of Ukraine clearly set out that we have Russia as a competitor that is willing to and did break international law.
“Russia’s activities today are just pushing wherever they can against the international norms.
“Russia is modernising its force capabilities from hybrid or asymmetric warfare, including information operations and hacking, to conventional and even nuclear weapons,” the general said.
In response to these challenges, Mr. Scaparrotti said Eucom had shifted its focus from security cooperation and engagement to deterrence and defence.
“Accordingly, we are adjusting our posture, plans and readiness so that we remain relevant to the threats we face.
“In short, we are returning to our historic role as a war fighting command focused on deterrence and defence,” he said.