Why is General Joseph Dunford important worldwide

US General Dunford warns of Russia

"Russia is the greatest threat to our national security," said Joseph Dunford at a hearing in the Senate Armed Forces Committee. Russia is a nuclear power and violated the sovereignty of another country in the Ukraine crisis. Nevertheless, it is important that the Pentagon keep a conversation line with the Russian military in order to avoid "misunderstandings". The nuclear power could violate the sovereignty of US allies and is an "existential threat to the United States".

The conflict in Ukraine has caused the worst upheaval in relations between the US and Russia since the Cold War. The US and the European Union accuse Moscow of supporting the rebels in eastern Ukraine with soldiers and equipment. The Russian government denies this. Because of the interference in the neighboring country and the annexation of the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, the USA and the EU have imposed economic sanctions on Russia.

Arms for Ukraine

The general spoke out in favor of delivering armor-piercing weapons to Ukraine. The decision on this lies with US President Barack Obama, who is skeptical about arms deliveries to Kiev. It was appropriate to equip the country with anti-tank missiles, for example, said Dunford. "Without this kind of support, they will not be able to defend themselves against Russian aggression." Defense Minister Ashton Carter has also spoken out in favor of arms deliveries to Ukraine.

In the Senate hearing, Dunford named China, North Korea and the jihadist militia "Islamic State" (IS) as further threats to US security. Obama had nominated the previous commander of the Marines in May to succeed Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey. The US Senate has yet to approve the nomination. However, this is considered a formality given the backing Dunford enjoys from both Democrats and Republicans. If approved by the Senate, Dunford would become one of Obama's key defense advisors. He would also be the central point of contact for Secretary of Defense Carter.

Born in Boston, Dunford became an officer in 1977 and commanded NATO troops in Afghanistan from February 2013 to August 2014. The 59-year-old is a graduate of the US Army Ranger School, known for its extremely tough training, and has two university degrees - one in international relations and one in political science.

kle / gri (afp, dpa, rtre, ape)