Former commander of American forces in Europe, head of strategic research at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges said that Western countries should increase their presence in the Black Sea region, Ukrinform reports.
The American general accused Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of “tales” about the end of large-scale exercises of Russian troops in Crimea. According to Hodges, some of the military are “still there”.
“What we see now is just a continuation of pressure from Russia. Therefore, the question arises – how can we get the initiative in the Black Sea region”, – said the general during the Internet conference” Dark Waves: the game of forces in the Black Sea region”.
He stressed that the West should increase its presence in the Black Sea region and the number of joint multinational exercises, such as the upcoming Sea Breeze, which will begin in two weeks. In addition, he advised Kiev to more actively carry out reforms in the economic and legal spheres, which should increase the investment attractiveness of Ukraine.
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“Georgia and Ukraine should make themselves more attractive for investments. Now there is not a single serious German, French or American business in Ukraine or Georgia – and this explains the lack of interest in what is happening in the region”, – Hodges said.