Air Force General Philip M. Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and commander of U.S. European Command, spoke bluntly about Russia and Syria with ‘weaponizing migration’ by flooding Europe with refugees to ‘break European resolve’. Breedlove also called Russia an ‘existential threat’ to the U.S.
Breedlove made his remarks in prepared testimony for the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
The news media did not report Breedlove’s comments, save for a tweet by CBS News producer Cami McCormick.
The Defense Department posted a report on Breedlove’s appearance before the House committee that contians his comments about Russia and Syria.
Russia has “chosen to be an adversary and poses a long-term existential threat” to the United States and U.S. allies and partners in Europe, he told lawmakers.
Russia wants to “rewrite” the agreed rules of the international order, he said.
“To counter Russia, Eucom, working with allies and partners, is deterring Russia now and preparing to fight and win if necessary,” he said.
Russia is eager to exert unquestioned influence over its neighboring states to create a buffer zone, the general said, adding, “Russia is extending its course of influence yet further afield to try to reestablish a leading role on the world stage.”
Despite what he described as Russian pronouncements to the contrary, Russia has done little to counter ISIL in Syria, Breedlove said. Instead, Moscow has done a “great deal to bolster the Assad regime and its allies,” he remarked.
Russian involvement in Syria has “wildly exacerbated the problem,” changing the dynamic in the air and on the ground, he said.
“Russia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponizing migration from Syria in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve,” he said.