WASHINGTON, November 14 (Sputnik) — The US Congress has a role to play in ensuring military readiness for the United States to more effectively deter Russia, Congressman Rob Wittman of Virginia has told Sputnik.
"[US] Congress plays a role in looking at what our current state of military readiness is, [and] what we're doing with our European allies to deter, or try to deter… [Russian President] Vladimir Putin. I think we have a role there," said Wittman, the chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Readiness.
Asked if US policy toward Russia was deterrence, Wittman expressed his concern that forced budget sequestration, a measure imposed by Congress to cut $500 billion in defense spending over 10 years, would negatively impact the state of readiness of US forces and the US role as a NATO partner. Repealing the sequester, said Wittman, "provides an opportunity for us to be more effective in deterring Vladimir Putin."
The congressman believes that reports released this week from NATO alleging that Russian troops were moving through Ukraine should be a matter of deep concern for the United States and its NATO partners.
The Russian Defense Ministry has denied the NATO accusations and said the alliance's claims were driven by the desire to boost its military presence near the Russian border.
Wittman won his re-election to serve in Congress and will be sworn in with other members of the newly elected 114th Congress at the beginning of January.