The Russian takeover of Crimea from Ukraine has NATO allies worried, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday (April 1).
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told reporters traveling with him that one of Russia’s reasons for invading Crimea was to protect ethnic Russians living there.
“These populations are intermingled,” Dempsey said as he flew home from Israel.
“If Russia were to assert a right to protect ethnic Russians inside other countries it could be incredibly destabilizing,” Dempsey said. “That’s why the Baltics are worried and why we are reassuring our NATO allies — especially the Baltics, Poland, Romania.”
The Soviet Union forcibly incorporated the Baltic republics of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and many ethnic Russians moved to the area. In Latvia and Estonia, roughly a quarter of the population is ethnically Russian. In Lithuania, it’s about 14 percent. The United States, Dempsey said, has standing unilateral plans to reinforce Europe if asked to do so.
The plan concentrates on logistics, the chairman said, which includes reception, staging, onward movement and integration.
The U.S. military is doing the logistics work that would be required to move the force if that ever became necessary, Dempsey said.
This is not a war plan, the chairman said, but even to increase the scope and scale of exercises there is a significant logistics footprint.
“What we are planning is the logistics aspects of reassurance activities,” he said.
Press Release, April 2, 2014, Image: Wikimedia