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The Crimean situation assessment: NATO discovers the new Russian army
Material posted: Publication date: 02-04-2014

This past weekend Supreme commander of the United NATO forces in Europe air force General Breedlove USA made a speech at the Brussels forum, where he evaluated the Russian army during the Crimean "invasion".

Breedlove was quite impressed as the preparation of the "invasion" under the guise of permitted agreements on the safety of exercise and the surgery itself. Troops were put on combat readiness, conducted sudden teachings, declared lights out. "And then... boom – into Crimea were well-trained Russian forces," was given to the diva General.

Breedlove noted that the military capabilities of Russia has considerably increased since the Georgian campaign of 2008. According to him, if Russia's actions in Georgia were not particularly well coordinated, that the Crimean operation largely went like clockwork, starting with the isolation of the Ukrainian contingent in the Crimea from the command by creating radio interference and cyber attacks and the complete mastery of the territory of Crimea.

Breedlove was in constant communication with the chief of the General staff of the Russian armed forces Gerasimov. Generals spoke on February 24, shortly before the Crimean crisis, and agreed to "inform each other" on changing the situation. Breedlove recognizes that it cannot determine, tricked or not, because it is unknown when and how the Russian leadership took the decision on Crimea.
General are concerned about the presence of Russian troops on Ukraine's border, which can be sent to the unrecognized state of Transnistria through the territory of southern Ukraine. According to him, Russia is actively uses "frozen conflicts" in neighboring countries (e.g., Transnistria in Moldova, Abkhazia in Georgia) to prevent strengthen the links with its neighbors the EU and NATO: "there is an intrusion, creates a frozen conflict. And then no one wants to think about the country joining NATO, because you can follow the clash with Russia which are cause for great concern". Russia successfully combines the use of soft power (use of information with the aim of exerting pressure) and hard power (use of force) to achieve more political than military, outcomes.

NATO leaders have been extremely surprised by the maneuverability, mobility, discipline and the prudence of Russian troops. And here are the fruits of the reforms that began in the Russian army a few years ago and continuing until now. It extends far beyond purely technical aspects, financial support and structure of troops; apply psychological approaches and interaction with the political reality.

Breedlove long assured the audience that NATO is significantly reorganising its forces in accordance with the situation, and will also build capacity and develop new tactics. But despite all the words, one thing is clear – Russia's actions in Crimea, combining skills, flexibility, and a brilliant combination of soft and hard power represent a new and very serious threat to the Alliance. It was thought that Russia is already under control. It turns out that it is not so, and the 'control zone' are able to apply completely new techniques and tactics. Western leaders suddenly saw all the uncertainties of the European situation, which was perceived as the victorious procession to the weakening and isolation of Russia before its full destruction (to remember at least ignorant McCain's statement "After Kiev Moscow"). No doubt, it's brand new for military and NATO experts, still tend to be treated with contempt by Russian forces.

Natalia Golovakha


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