General Curtis Scaparrotti, the US European Commander and NATO’s Supreme Commander, declared Russia a “very lethal, tough enemy” and wants additional armoured ground troops alongside sea based assets.
He said: “They (Russia) have made the statement openly that they see a use for nuclear tactical capability within what we would consider a conventional conflict, which is very alarming.
“One of the things you see that is disturbing is the fact that they are using weapon systems that can either be conventional or nuclear, which then makes it difficult for us to clearly understand what they’ve employed.”
The general is relishing the addition of state of the art F-35 fighter jets that can carry nuclear and conventional bombs.
He continued: “Today, we have about a little over 60,000 of all services stationed in Europe. It provides a force that allows us to deter today.
“We need a greater force there, I think potentially in the land component… a footprint of an armoured division, for instance.”
Donald Trump recently increased the defence budget by a reported $54billion, which alone makes up 80 per cent of the disclosed Russian military spending.
Scaparrotti added: “I personally believe that we need to consider lethal defensive weapons for Ukraine. They are fighting a very lethal, tough enemy.
“It’s Russian proxy, really, and the Russians provide some of their newest equipment there in order to test it.”
At the moment the US, Britain, Greece, Poland and Estonia are spending the minimum target of two per cent of their GDP on defence, despite a commitment in 2014 from all 28 Nato members to reach the two per cent spending target by 2024.
The comments follow a declaration of support for Nato from Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary.
Four RAF Typhoons are being sent to Romania to help police the Black Sea and provide reassurance to countries worried about Russia’s military ambitions.
Fallon said: “The UK is stepping up its support for Nato’s collective defence…