The Russian Navy could arrange provocations near Odessa and to seize the coastline – the former commander of NATO

“Formula Steinmeier” imposes a special responsibility for peace in Ukraine on Germany. But it doesn’t explain how to reach agreements with the Russians to hold elections in the Donbass. Under the muzzles of Russian machines, they can only legitimize the occupation administration. Russian weapons and money flow rushing to continue to kill Ukrainians in Eastern Ukraine. The West needs a United front to support Kiev economically, diplomatically, militarily. In an interview with said Lieutenant General U.S. army, retired, former commander of NATO land forces in Europe Ben Hodges.

– The command of the Ukrainian army needs to achieve transparency, so as not to fall into the trap with the distribution of forces in the Donbas. Make sure that the Russians and the so-called separatists departed.

The important role played by the Organization for security and cooperation in Europe, which is still Russia was not allowed to work. Not allowed its employees to the monitoring of all occupied areas. Germany, France and the United States should press the Russians that the OSCE has fulfilled its task.

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Author: AR

Ben Hodges in 2003, he commanded a brigade during the operations in Iraq. He was Deputy commander of the multinational force allies. 2009-2010 – Director of operations in Afghanistan. In 2012-2014, commander of the land forces of NATO in Europe. Then three years, the commander of the U.S. army in Europe. 2017 left in stock. Head of the Department of strategic studies of the Center for European policy analysis, USA.

Some see the risks in the signing by Ukraine of the so-called formula of Steinmaur?

– The conversation about it places particular responsibility on Germany for peace. After all, Frank-Walter Steinmeier was the first foreign Minister and now – President. Berlin to press and force the Russians to justice. Otherwise, all the noise – empty talk does not solve problems. The name of Steinmeier attached by the Russians to dialogue, to emphasize the responsibility of Berlin.

Elections under the barrel of Russian guns can only legitimize the occupation administration

In fact, the formula does not explain how it is possible to reach agreements with the Russians to hold elections in the Donbass. Under the muzzles of Russian machines, they can only legitimize the occupation administration. This is unacceptable.

Don’t understand the position of France. President Makron is anxious to return to management with Russian Affairs business as usual as it was before 2014. This approach does not help to achieve peace. Russian weapons and money to a broad stream flowing to continue to kill Ukrainians in Eastern Ukraine. Weekly people die. The West needs a United front to support you economically, diplomatically, militarily.

Russia is trying to return the LC and the DNI on its own terms, to control our foreign policy?

– This risk exists. The previous Ukrainian government was voiced. The new leaders in Kiev need to be careful not to sign with the Russians no agreements, which would give Moscow a veto on the foreign policy of Ukraine.

I am sure, knows about these risks Zelensky. But Russia will find new ways to push Ukraine into a trap. Go to appropriate steps it would be a huge mistake of the Ukrainian government. It is understood in the West. In particular, in Washington. There is also talk of how to counteract.

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What you see additional challenges from the Russian Federation?

– From an operational point of view, for Ukraine, the threat of the sea. The Russian Navy may try to arrange provocations near Odessa, to continue to capture the coastline, cutting off the country from sea to impede trade in the Black and Azov seas.

See a certain loss of stability of the Ukrainian society against Russia’s information aggression

Ukraine with its neighbors such as Romania and Georgia, as well as the naval forces of NATO in the region, must ensure the freedom of Maritime navigation. The West must help stop illegal actions like the capture of the Ukrainian courts.

See a certain loss of stability of the Ukrainian society against Russia’s information aggression. You know, the Kremlin did not consider Ukraine as a country and Ukrainians are a separate people, and the most promotes such thoughts. At the same time, the Russians did not acknowledge the presence of its troops in the Donbas, spreading disinformation, which should further divide your society.

To defend against such attacks needs to help impartial and honest Ukrainian media. Their mission is to force their elite to justice. Secondly, the judicial system must become virtuous and earn on the basis of the rule of law. Thirdly, the Verkhovna Rada and the government should increase the transparency and clarity of how funds are used, citizens for safety. Should clearly know that the money goes to the best armor and weapons, for effective learning. Make sure that the government is doing everything to preserve the life and health of the defenders. Loss of confidence in his government or army – in the hands of the Russians.

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As the leading NATO members see the role of Ukraine in cooperation with the Alliance?

– An important sign that the Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and other NATO officials on October 30-31, visited Odessa and Kiev. Stoltenberg said that the Alliance, and that 29 countries are uniquely configured to protect the Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity. Believes that reforms and support Alliance will help to return the occupied areas. I have the same opinion.

In Ukraine year-round train American, canadian, Polish, Lithuanian, and British soldiers and officers. Western partners are assisting with equipment and military equipment. We also learn from the Ukrainians, who have experience of war.


Commander of the US army in Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges welcomes the Ukrainian military at the International center of peacekeeping and security in starychi village, Yavorivskyi district, Lviv region.

You need to improve the relations with NATO?

– Ukraine is not an island, has neighbors. If all the black sea countries acted together and spoke with one voice, it would be good. So that in Washington, Berlin and London governments and businesses saw that there are no isolated players, and work together to confront Russian aggression.

Integration into NATO is written in the Constitution of Ukraine. Become a member of the Alliance against the backdrop of war with Russia?

– 1955 West Germany joined NATO. At the same time, a third of the country occupied by the USSR, in the GDR stood a million Soviet soldiers.

Despite the fact that part of the Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova’s Russian-occupied, it is not the reason not to integrate. Rather the opposite – a challenge to do everything to get closer. Do not give Moscow a veto in foreign policy. Many NATO members are sincerely want you to join. Especially Poland, Romania, the Baltic States, which had experience of Soviet occupation for over 40 years.

I hope, at the London summit in December, the Alliance confirms that he wants to see Ukraine in the unit

I hope, at the London summit in December, the Alliance confirms that he wants to see Ukraine in the unit. This issue is addressed. Of course, there will be countries against it. Member of the American team will work to America advocated and persuaded the allies – France and Germany.

Ukraine must continue to modernize the security sector, military and non-military spheres. Civil society must find the strength to resist Russian informational aggression against Euro-Atlantic integration. The government in Kiev is also responsible for this movement.

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What Ukraine to become closer to the Alliance?

– Use every opportunity – to participate in military exercises, to cooperate with its neighbors to NATO. And most influential member – the United States.

The Ukrainian leadership should use every opportunity to synchronize the army with the Alliance, to catch up to the standards of the unit, to agree on procedures and orders. I would also recommend that your country has invested in the training of British officers. Now very few senior Ukrainian officers possess an excellent knowledge of this language. Command your army should study in the best military institutions of Europe and the United States.

One more thing – Ukraine should raise its voice. To act jointly with colleagues in the region that aspire to join NATO.

As NATO has reconsidered relations with Russia since the beginning of the aggression of Moscow against us?

– The Alliance the last five years actively increasing its power to resist possible Russian aggression. Provides training, throws additional forces, reorganized the headquarters, placed the new troops in Poland.

Now in Central and Eastern Europe is much more United States troops than it was before 2014. Almost all members increase defense spending, improve the mobility of troops, especially of the rapid reaction force.

Between Washington and Kiev may be the agreement that America has placed a naval base in South

Possible location in Ukraine us military base, if such offer arrives from Kiev?

– I don’t know, Washington is ready to take this step, but don’t say no. On Jaworowski polygon are trained soldiers and officers in U.S. special forces to train Ukrainian colleagues.

Between Washington and Kiev may be the agreement that America has placed a naval base in the South for logistics and presence in the region. This would allow to quickly react to the Americans in the Russian calls. As of now it is most likely, that can count.

A similar idea applies to Georgia, where can be placed the air forces of NATO.

How do you evaluate the efforts of the world President Zelensky and his entourage?

– From the beginning in parallel with other on the table in Kyiv has always been a diplomatic solution to the war. Must be combined with military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Russia.

The Russians are all the time trying to show that they are not in the Donbas. Allegedly not participants, and intermediaries. Real negotiation or consent is not possible without recognition of Moscow’s involvement in the war.

Ukraine needs to make allies in the Alliance kept the pressure on the Russians to achieve transparency of Russia’s participation in the war, the administration of the occupied parts of Donbas and conducting legitimate elections under OSCE auspices. This next show, as with the referendum in the Crimea.

There can be no expression until there are Russian troops in Ukraine is not in control of the borders, no location in the Donbas Ukrainian police, no activities of the CEC.

It is our duty to restore the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Can never doubt the entire Donbass and the Crimea must be Ukrainian.

What arguments can use Kiev in a dialogue with the Western allies to convince them to actively support us?

– First, the emphasis on the inviolability of borders in Europe. If someone else wants to change the power limits of countries, will start a big war and chaos. The legal argument is important in the dialogue with the Western allies. Nihilism under international law – is a dangerous thing.

Second, the leading EU countries have to see the economic potential in Ukraine. So in your country, were their large investment to the French and the Germans lost a lot of money from a Russian attack. The potential for this is great. It is necessary to develop cooperation with its neighbors-members Turkey, Romania, Poland.

For example, Georgia wants to build a deepwater port in Anaklia to large ships that can pass through the Bosporus Strait, could reach not only the Romanian port of Constanta, but also Georgia. If you do, the way for Chinese goods to Europe will be reduced by 10 days – from the current 35. Something similar could make Ukraine near Odessa. This is a huge money – 2016 the trade between Europe and China reached about $ 515 billion.

Powerful global players give additional guarantees to the countries. This is a wonderful fuse of a new Russian aggression. Protecting your investment is one of the main things that concern business in the West.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine and withdraw its troops from the Donbass. With this appeal he made from the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada on October 31.


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