Russia first sent teams of special operations forces wearing uniforms without insignia in February into Crimea and then later into eastern Ukraine to work with Russian minorities inside the country to begin an insurrection. Ukraine’s military has been fighting these “little green men” ever since. But until recently, Russia has not even acknowledged sending anyone into the country.
Breedlove, speaking at the Atlantic Council on Monday, said if the Kremlin tried that in one of the NATO allies that border Russia — like the former Soviet republics in the Batlics — it would risk triggering Article Five of NATO’s charter which is the section that calls on the alliance to come to the defence of a member state being attacked.
“We have to look at those forces in our border nations where there are substantial Russian populations and how do we better prepare this initial onslaught of this hybrid war,” Breedlove said. “How do we better prepare our allies to characterize, understand and survive the initial onslaught of the little green men scenario?”