US General Christopher Cavoli has been appointed the new commander of NATO forces in Europe. This was announced by the head of the US Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, CNN reports.
In his new position, Cavoli will replace Tod Walters, who served in this post for three years. Cavoli's appointment to the post was signed by US President Joe Biden with NATO approval.
According to CNN, approximately 100,000 NATO troops from all services deployed in Europe will be under Cavoli's leadership when he officially takes office.
Cavoli was born to an Italian-American family, his father was a US Army officer. Raised in Rome, he joined the US Army in 1987. Currently he is the commander of the US Army in Europe and Africa. He holds an MA in Russian and East European Studies from Yale University. Fluent in Russian, Italian and French.
Against the backdrop of Russia's military operation in Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on April 10 that the alliance is working on plans to send permanent and full-scale military forces to the eastern borders to protect against a possible attack from Moscow. NATO is now “in the midst of a fundamental transformation,” he explained. As part of this process, the forces of the alliance on its eastern borders will be strengthened so that they can “repel an attempt to invade the territory of member states, such as Estonia or Latvia,” Stoltenberg pointed out.
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In addition, after the start of a special operation in Ukraine, the authorities of Sweden and Finland announced their desire to apply for membership in the alliance. The Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, citing sources in the ruling party, indicated that Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson plans to apply in early June. In early April, Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin said that Helsinki would decide the issue of joining NATO within nine weeks.
Russia has repeatedly opposed NATO expansion. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the Swedish and Finnish authorities should be aware of the consequences of accession for “bilateral relations and the European security architecture in general, which is now in a state of crisis.” Also in Russia, NATO was accused of “combat management”; in Ukraine.
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