HOHENFELS, Germany — The U.S. Army's top general took a tough stance on Russia while visiting a multinational military exercise with NATO partners on Tuesday. "It is important to show Russia and others that we're united in our training and building interoperability with each other and building strength," Gen. Raymond Odierno, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, told reporters.
Odierno highlighted concerns European partners had over a recent string of flights by Russian aircraft. NATO warned last week of an "unusual level or air activity" by Russian military aircraft over European air space. So far this year, NATO forces have conducted more than 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft, about three times more than in 2013.
"These are important times as we see continued Russian aggression," Odierno said. "I think it's important for us to ensure that they understand that as an alliance we're going to continue to work together and that we're going to depend on each other."
Odierno's visit to the U.S. Army's German training areas comes as American forces alongside NATO partners are staging military exercises across Europe. The current exercise, Combined Resolve III, brought more than 4,000 participants from 18 countries together. These recent maneuvers also brought heavy American weaponry into Eastern European countries to show support of NATO partners there, who have feared Russian aggression since the start of the crisis in Ukraine.
"For the first time in a very long time, we deployed a heavy brigade of tanks and Bradleys and other capabilities here to Europe. Some of them are now [moving] forward into Eastern European countries, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland," Odierno said.
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— Carlo Angerer and Andy Eckardt