- The Washington Times - Monday, September 15, 2014

The four-star general in charge of NATO operations in Europe wants the alliance to come up with an international norm for helping nations that are not a part of the 28-member coalition.

Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove said during a speech at the Atlantic Council Monday that NATO needs to clarify what its policy is for providing assistance to nations, like Ukraine, which is in danger of having its sovereignty wrested away by Russia. That dialogue needs to happen soon because there is the potential for additional countries to face a similar fate, according to Gen. Breedlove.

“What are those assurances that we can give these nations?” he said. “And ‘we’ would be an interesting personal pronoun in that sentence. Who is we? Is it NATO? Is it a coalition? Is it bilateral?”

Gen. Breedlove, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of U.S. European Command, spoke amid international concern over Russia’s aggressive behavior toward Ukraine since Russian soldiers in April seized the Crimean peninsula.

Since that time, Ukraine has been struggling to keep Russian troops at bay and quash pro-Russian supporters operating within the country’s borders.

After the April incursion, NATO beefed up its policing and training exercises in Eastern Europe. That military action was aimed at easing the concerns of those allies who felt threatened by Russia’s hostility.

• Maggie Ybarra can be reached at mybarra@washingtontimes.com.

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