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    U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, commander of the U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, arrives to testify before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 30, 2015

    Is Breedlove Trying to 'Inflict Maximum Damage' to Russia-NATO Relations?

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    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)
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    General Philip M. Breedlove, NATO' outgoing supreme allied commander, appears to be making every effort to ruin the already strained relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance, Sergei Koshelev, the head of the Defense Ministry's international cooperation department, asserted.

    "All of [Breedlove's] latest statements seem to be aimed at a single goal – to inflict maximum damage to Russia's relations with NATO so that it would be extremely hard to mend them," Sergei Koshelev told Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei (Russian News Service) radio station.

    Gen. Philip Breedlove has been an outspoken critic of what some call Russia's "assertive" foreign policy and has repeatedly warned that Moscow poses a threat to the US and Europe. Russian officials and experts from Russia and elsewhere have long said that these claims have no merit.

    In late February, NATO's supreme allied commander suggested that Moscow "poses a long-term existential threat" to the United States and US allies in Europe. A month later, in March, the general called on the Pentagon to send U-2 spy planes on surveillance flights over Russia.

    In addition, Breedlove has long urged to increase the US military presence in Europe to counter Russia. For its part, Moscow has repeatedly said that it is the bloc's increased war-games and anti-Russian rhetoric that could be detrimental to European security and stability.

    Stars and Stripes newspaper described Breedlove as having "taken on a more prominent role than previous EUCOM/NATO commanders" when it came to commenting on Russia and the bloc's response to Moscow's policies.

    "Along NATO's eastern flank, those pronouncements have been taken as a signal of solidarity and reassurance. Critics, however, say Breedlove's hard line on Russia has sometimes been too bellicose," the media outlet noted.

    NATO's next supreme allied commander, US Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, is expected to succeed Breedlove this spring.

    NATO-Russia relations deteriorated in 2014 over Crimea's reunification with Russia and Moscow's alleged role in the crisis in eastern Ukraine. Russia has always denied any involvement in the Ukrainian civil war and has made every effort to resolve the conflict through diplomatic means.

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    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)

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