According to him, Russia has withdrew a part of its forces from the territory of Ukraine but they remain close to the border.
"I will paint a picture for you, which is that from a peak of well over 10 battalion task groups inside of Ukraine, I believe we're now down to elements of probably four battalion task groups inside Ukraine.
The Russians have been removing forces to the east of the Ukrainian border back into Russia, but make no mistake - those forces are close enough to be quickly brought back to bear if required. They have not left the area that would allow them to be either a course of force or a force used for actual combat, if required.
Inside of Ukraine, we see forces that now are arrayed, I think, with two purposes. One purpose is to keep the flow of support and supply to the separatist forces and the Russian forces in the Luhansk and Donetsk area wide open. So those avenues of support will remain wide open, and I think that the Russian forces are arrayed to ensure that.
Secondarily, I think we see Russian forces arrayed to bring great pressure on Mariupol. So currently, there is a large force that threatens Mariupol. I think it has one of two possibilities for use. It can sit there and be a coercive force to ensure that the negotiations for peace fall out along the lines that Russia wants them to fall out, or it could also be used to take Mariupol, if it was there. But these forces are arrayed to allow them to do either.
So I think it's important to say that, yes, some of the force structure has come down. No, none of it has departed. It is all still available. And the forces that remain inside of Ukraine are arrayed to set conditions to completely support the long-term effort of the separatists in the east and to either coerce or force the hand in Mariupol," Breedlove said.
The Commander also stressed that hybrid warfare techniques used by Russia threaten the security of Europe.
"Europe, despite the great work of our predecessors over the last 70 years, has become a region under tension. Russia has forcefully changed borders of several countries by violating their territorial sovereignty. Russia has illegally annexed a part of one of them, something we will never acknowledge. Russia has also used asymmetric hybrid warfare to further illicit transgressions, which is a danger to their neighbors and the safety and security of Europe," Breedlove stated.