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NATO official: U.S. security assistance to train security forces of Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova is essential

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, March 4
NATO Commander in Chief, Philip Breedlove says in his 2015 report to the Senate’s Armed Services Committee that U.S. security assistance to train, advise and equip the national security forces of Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova is absolutely essential

Breedlove states that U.S. partners, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine face a different security challenge from Russia than that facing NATO Allies.

He states that all three countries have implemented political and economic reforms to advance democracy and integrate with Europe. However, their ability to make further progress is significantly constrained by Russian interference and pressure.

“Russia occupies portions of their territory with its military forces, wields economic leverage and energy dependence as coercive instruments, exploits minority Russian populations to serve its interests, interferes in democratic processes, engages in bribery and coercion of government officials, and generates a constant propaganda deluge,” Breedlove says.

He stresses that even as these three countries face severe threats to their sovereignty and territorial integrity, they continue to make meaningful contributions to international security.

“Since 2010, Georgia has rotated 14 battalions to Afghanistan in support of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and three additional battalions in support of the mission, and is currently the second largest contributor after the U.S,” Breedlov said.

Breedlov states that there are conflicts in Georgia’s de-facto regions-Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He explained that the clear purpose behind Russia’s invasion of Georgia and its continued occupation of Georgian territory is to prevent Tbilisi from pursuing its rightful and legitimate intentions to become a full member of the European and trans-Atlantic communities.

“To that end, Russia has signed a treaty with Abkhazia and is pushing for another with South Ossetia to increase its influence while hampering Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration,” the official says.

Breedlove states that despite these challenges, all three countries strive to develop military forces that meet NATO standards and interoperability requirements. “However, their efforts face a number of challenges, as all three countries require deep institutional reforms to efficiently generate, organize, equip, and sustain their armed forces.

“They must also accelerate their transition from Soviet-era systems to modern, NATO-interoperable systems and equipment. These countries have severely limited resources available to address these requirements. Thus, U.S. security assistance to train, advise, and equip the national security forces of Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova is absolutely essential,” Philip Breedlove says.