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'It's got to end': Former NATO general speaks to GCSU on importance of Ukraine-Russia war

"Ukraine is step one -- it's bigger than Ukraine," General Philip Breedlove says.

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Philip Breedlove, a four-star general in the U.S. Air Force and former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO, spoke to Georgia College students Tuesday.

He focused on the war in Ukraine, now almost a year old.

13WMAZ Jessica Cha sat down with him to talk about the war and why he says we should care. 

"Russia has weaponized rape, Russia has weaponized torture, Russia has weaponized murder. It's got to end. It's criminal,” says Breedlove. 

He says in his time as the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, he's seen Russia invade Ukraine more than once. 

“Now Russia has come back in and attacked more fully into the country with the goal of taking over the whole country,” Breedlove explains. 

Breedlove says Ukraine is a great nation fighting for democracy. He says they've been holding up better than the world predicted.

“The fact of the matter is,” he says. “Russia is a much larger nation with more military and they’re doing incredible damage and harm to the people of Ukraine.” 

Breedlove says Ukraine needs the West's help, mainly with weapons.

He says the West is afraid of Russia raising the level of the war, so the West has only been providing Ukraine with a limited set of weapons meant to be more defensive– not allowing them to strike back into Russia. 

"Ukraine has dealt a strategic defeat to the Russian forces, so it's really about will we give them the kind of weapons that will truly enable them to expel russia from their land?”

Breedlove says Ukraine’s goal is only to gain back their internationally recognized borders– their sovereign land. 

However, what if the West doesn't help? Breedlove says the trouble could spread.

"Mr. Putin clearly lays out a completely new security infrastructure for Europe. It would move all of the nato forces, western forces, and specifically American, or us forces out of the Russian near abroad,” he explains. “It would allow Russia to reestablish control over those states along the border.” 

That means what's happening in Ukraine, could happen to bordering countries like Moldova, the Baltic states, etc. 

Vivian Cassaniti, majoring in political science at Georgia College, studied abroad last year in Paris, bordering Germany. 

"I think hearing about it made it more real, being that physically close,” she says.

The world should be paying attention to the war. 

“We're all greater parts of a whole. I think all of our individual voices ban together to make a larger effect,” Cassiniti says. 

However, Tristan Hooper, another poli-sci major, says the West should stay out of the fight.

"What does the U.S. stand to benefit from this? Americans' concerns are more domestic than they are in Ukraine,” Hooper says. 

General Breedlove also wants to teach students about Peace Engineering. It's a way of mixing problem solving with social sciences. 

The goal? To avoid conflicts like the Russia-Ukraine war.

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