The United States is considering new strategies to prevent Russia from meddling in Europe, in what some officials describe as an “updated version of Cold War-era containment,” according to a report.
The approach involves boosting militaries of allies and potential partners, expanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and increased training exercises, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The latest policy deliberations come as US President Barack Obama meets with leaders of European allies this weekend in Germany, where he is expected to push for a tougher stance against Moscow.
The longer-term measures stem from a recognition that US and European sanctions alone have failed to make Russian President Vladimir Putin reverse course.
“It’s clear the sanctions are working on the Russian economy, but what is not apparent is that that effect on his economy is deterring Putin from following the course that was evidenced in Crimea last year,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Friday in Germany.
"Therefore we need to adapt, in a long-term sense, to that reality," he told reporters after meeting with top American military and diplomatic officials.
The Pentagon also is drafting plans to deploy new stocks of military equipment, including ground-launched cruise missiles, in Europe to counter Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Russia has developed capabilities and tactics that undermine its neighbors, including NATO members the United States is treaty-bound to protect.
“On certain issues, President Putin has actually stated his intent. One of his clearer statements is that he considers NATO to be a threat to him and will look for opportunities to discredit and eventually undermine the alliance,” he told The Journal in an interview.
Ties between Washington and Moscow have reached an all-time low over the crisis in Ukraine, which began after pro-Western forces ousted the country’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, in February 2014.
The US accuses Russia of destabilizing Ukraine by supporting pro-Russian forces in the eastern regions.
Russia has denounced the accusations as “baseless” and says Washington is responsible for the crisis by sending in arms in support of the Ukrainian army.