US European Command boss and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe USAF Gen. Philip Breedlove appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, then gave a briefing to Pentagon reporters later in the day where he spoke extensively on the state of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Breedlove told SASC Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that despite a lull in major clashes between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists, “reset” activities are under way and there are indications the separatists are preparing to take the offensive again. Breedlove also told the SASC he agrees with the Defense Secretary, saying the US should consider supplying arms to Ukraine in order to change the “calculus” on the battlefield and help facilitate a more permanent negotiated settlement between parties. Breedlove also declared there are clear indications Russian military forces are deeply involved in the command and control of the separatist forces, as elements such as heavy armor and air defenses continue to support operations throughout eastern Ukraine. Breedlove said this is why the State Department now uses the term “combined Russian-separatist forces,” as there is overwhelming evidence command of military operations stretches across the border into Russia.
It’s hard to know why the F-35 Block 4 upgrade's cost—now $16.5 billion and rising—is going up because it is mixed with the rest of the program, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report.