U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who is both the U.S. European Commander and NATO`s Supreme Commander, told a House of Representatives Armed Services Committee Tuesday that Washington should consider granting Ukraine lethal aid to deter Russian-backed militants, Washington Examiner reports.
”I personally believe that we need to consider lethal defensive weapons for Ukraine,” said Scaparrotti, according to Washington Examiner.
”They are fighting a very lethal, tough enemy,” he said. ”It`s Russian proxy, really, and the Russians provide some of their newest equipment there in order to test it.”
See also: McCain ”optimistic” over prospects of U.S. lethal aid to Ukraine
Among the technologies that Russia has debuted in combat in Ukraine and drones that guide artillery in order to increase accuracy.
Scaparrotti has also told the House committee that, to build a more capable force to counter Russia`s growing military might, he needs troops that are based in Europe, and don`t simply rotate in and out.
”Today, we have about a little over 60,000 of all services stationed in Europe. It provides a force that allows us to deter today,” Scaparrotti said. ”We need a greater force there, I think potentially in the land component … a footprint of an armored division, for instance.”
In his testimony, Scaparrotti said he`s looking forward to adding fifth generation F-35s, which are both stealthy and can carry both nuclear and conventional bombs.
Scaparrotti said Russia is not only rebuilding and modernizing its nuclear arsenal, but President Vladimir Putin is also incorporating nuclear weapons in his strategy to intimidate countries along Russia`s periphery.
”We need ensure we build a force that is relevant to that threat,” Scaparrotti said. ”I need intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in greater numbers than I have now because to deter properly I have to be able to have a good base line of Russia, in particular, so I know when things change and can posture my forces properly.”
See also: What Ukraine urgently needs to defend itself – RAND