According to him,Russia has withdrew a part of its forces from the territory ofUkraine but they remain close to the border.
"I will paint apicture for you, which is that from a peak of well over 10battalion task groups inside of Ukraine, I believe we're now downto elements of probably four battalion task groups insideUkraine.
The Russians havebeen removing forces to the east of the Ukrainian border back intoRussia, but make no mistake - those forces are close enough to bequickly brought back to bear if required. They have not left thearea that would allow them to be either a course of force or aforce used for actual combat, if required.
Inside of Ukraine,we see forces that now are arrayed, I think, with two purposes. Onepurpose is to keep the flow of support and supply to the separatistforces and the Russian forces in the Luhansk and Donetsk area wideopen. So those avenues of support will remain wide open, and Ithink that the Russian forces are arrayed to ensurethat.
Secondarily, Ithink we see Russian forces arrayed to bring great pressure onMariupol. So currently, there is a large force that threatensMariupol. I think it has one of two possibilities for use. It cansit there and be a coercive force to ensure that the negotiationsfor peace fall out along the lines that Russia wants them to fallout, or it could also be used to take Mariupol, if it was there.But these forces are arrayed to allow them to doeither.
So I think it'simportant to say that, yes, some of the force structure has comedown. No, none of it has departed. It is all still available. Andthe forces that remain inside of Ukraine are arrayed to setconditions to completely support the long-term effort of theseparatists in the east and to either coerce or force the hand inMariupol," Breedlove said.
The Commander also stressed that hybrid warfare techniquesused by Russia threaten the security of Europe.
"Europe, despitethe great work of our predecessors over the last 70 years, hasbecome a region under tension. Russia has forcefully changedborders of several countries by violating their territorialsovereignty. Russia has illegally annexed a part of one of them,something we will never acknowledge. Russia has also usedasymmetric hybrid warfare to further illicit transgressions, whichis a danger to their neighbors and the safety and security ofEurope," Breedlove stated.