U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove warned Tuesday that Islamic State is “spreading like cancer” among refugees.
Breedlove, NATO’s top commander, believes the bombing of civilian targets by President Bashar al-Assad and Russia is an attempt to weaken Europe by starting a migration wave to the continent.
“Within this mix, [ISIS] is spreading like a cancer, taking advantage of paths of least resistance and threatening European nations, and our own, with terrorist attacks,” Breedlove said in a testimony for the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The migration crisis has weakened the infrastructure and divided European countries politically, according to Breedlove, which benefits Russian President Vladimir Putin’s agenda. Human rights groups advocating for the refugees and nationalists that oppose immigration both contribute to the problem, by adding to the division.
“Together, Russia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponizing migration in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve,” Breedlove said.
Breedlove warned that Russia’s agenda in Europe poses a threat to the U.S. as well.
“Russia has chosen to be an adversary and poses a long-term existential threat to the United States and to our European allies and partners,” he said. “Russia is eager to exert unquestioned influence over its neighboring states in its buffer zone… so has used military force to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, Georgia and others, like Moldova.”
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