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US general says more forces may be needed to be deployed in Europe

Gen. Tod D. Wolters, commander of US European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on February 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Gen. Tod D. Wolters, commander of US European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on February 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON — The US will likely need to add more permanent or rotational forces in Europe in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US European Command leader tells Congress, without detailing when or how many.

Gen. Tod Wolters, who also serves as NATO’s supreme allied commander, says decisions will be based on what European nations do, particularly in response to the need to build four additional NATO battlegroups, which are being set up in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria. The groups are an effort to protect and reassure nations on Europe’s eastern flank.

“My suspicion is we’re going to still need more,” Wolters tells the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Questioned about early US intelligence that suggested Russia would overwhelm Ukraine quickly, Wolters said that there may have been an “intel gap.” He says broader reviews of the US response to the war will consider that element.

On Russia’s use of hypersonic weapons in Ukraine, Wolters says there have been “multiple” launches that appeared to be an attempt by Putin to demonstrate his military’s capabilities.

“I don’t think they were successful,” he adds.

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