Late last week, the Commander of the U.S Army in Europe, Lieutenant General Frederick Benjamin Hodges, visited Latvia and met with the Commander of the National Armed Forces of Latvia, Raimonds Graube, in order to discuss bilateral cooperation and the implementation of the decisions of the Warsaw Summit, as reported by BaltNews.lv.
"I have regularly visited Latvia over the past four years and I see the contributions of the Ministry of Defense and the National Armed Forces of Latvia in the implementation of the 3rd paragraph – its ability to protect itself is growing,” the Lieutenant General noted.
“Latvia has professional soldiers and U.S. servicemen are always satisfied with the opportunity to train with Latvians. But now, I see their increasing contributions to infrastructure, development and modernization of their testing grounds.”
The Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe visited Ādaži military base, where he met with the Commander of the Land Forces Infantry Brigade, Colonel Ilmārs Atis Lejiņš, and the U.S. servicemen who are serving in Latvia as part of the Atlantic Resolve operation. Hodges also met with the Commander of the NATO Force Integration Unit in Latvia, Colonel Eriks Naglis, in order to discuss the service of U.S. soldiers in Latvia during the coming year.
They discussed the participation of the unit and their ability to provide assistance to the U.S. and Canadian servicemen, as well as the close cooperation with the National Armed Forces of Latvia in the preparations to deter potential aggressors.
In response to a question by the host of the TV program, De Facto, regarding Russia’s policy, Lieutenant General Frederick Benjamin Hodges said, “Russia doesn’t want NATO to provide collective security guarantees. That is why I believe that the main agenda of the Russian Federation in relation to NATO, is to create doubts in the minds of people in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and other countries that the remaining part of the Alliance will not come to their aid.”
In response to a question regarding diplomatic leaks on WikiLeaks reflecting the skepticism of some NATO countries about the need for the development of a defensive plan for the Baltic States, Hodges expressed confidence that a different climate has prevailed after the illegal annexation of the Crimea and other actions of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. The Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe expressed optimism about ensuring the cooperation from allies in deterring Russia.