Tags: nato | easterneurope | putin | russia | troops

Gen. Keane: NATO's Eastern Europe Troop Buildup is 'Right Move'

Friday, 04 Apr 2014 03:48 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

NATO is making "the right move" in announcing a troop buildup in Eastern Europe, even though it prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to recall his ambassador to the international alliance, said retired Gen. Jack Keane.

"The gall of the Russians to take a stance for the European nations to move troops around within the NATO borders, when they invaded another country," Keane, a retired Army four-star general, told Fox News' "Happening Now" Friday. "This is exactly, though, the right move."

It was important to send a message to Russia that NATO would "defend every one of its 28 member countries," Keane explained. He said moving troops was sending a "clear message to the Russians: 'Lay your hands off of NATO countries.'"

Russia recalled its ambassador to NATO Thursday, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov demanded answers regarding NATO's military activities in Eastern Europe. Russia's neighboring countries have grown uneasy with the Russian takeover of Crimea and the threat of troops along Ukraine's border.

"Moving troops, not just airplanes, into the Baltics and into other border countries with Russia, is absolutely sending an unequivocal message loud and clear," Keane said.

In Afghanistan, Keane indicated withdrawing all U.S. troops in 2014 would be a "slap in the face to the Afghans" and also to America's 12-year participation. President Barack Obama told the Pentagon in February to prepare for a full withdraw of all U.S. troops by the end of the year.

Keane said the Afghan parliamentary elections at the end of the month would not have been possible "without the sacrifice that our troops and NATO forces have made, as well as the Afghan forces." He called the elections a "seminal event" for the country that would provide their "first major transition in power."

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