In advance of President Barack Obama’s Trip to Moscow next month, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff has been doing a little advance work in Eastern Europe.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen gave a speech at Russia’s military academy, and met with his counterparts in Russia and Poland.
Adm. Mullen met with his Russian counterpart, Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of Russia's General Staff, during a three-day visit. (DoD photo: Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley)
Relations between the U.S. and Russia have been rocky since then-President George W. Bush announced plans to base 10 missile interceptors in Poland to protect against an Iranian missile attack. Russia’s brief war last summer with Georgia also damaged relations with the U.S.
In his meeting with Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of Russia’s Armed Forces General Staff, Mullen discussed missile defense, the war in Afghanistan and the recent decision by Kyrgyzstan’s decision to let the U.S. military stay at Manas Air Base, the major supply hub for Afghanistan. The Russians – widely believed to have instigated the Kyrgyz decision to bounce the U.S. military in the first place – are now squarely behind the new deal.
After meeting with Mullen, Makarov said U.S. and Russian military officials would sign a cooperation agreement during Obama’s visit to Moscow. Mullen later confirmed that he and Makarov will sign an agreement expanding U.S.-Russian military cooperation.Mullen reviews the troops in Warsaw with Poland's chief of the General Staff Gen. Franciszek Gagor. (DoD photo: Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley)
A day later in Warsaw, Mullen said he was optimistic that the U.S. and Poland would conclude a Status of Forces Agreement on the legal status of U.S. military personnel in Poland if it goes ahead with the plan to station ground-based missile interceptors in Poland.
After meeting with Gen. Franciszek Gagor, chief of the Gneral Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, Mullen said “I’m not just hopeful, but also optimistic.”
Europeans arren't the only ones with snappy uniforms. Mullen meets with Marine guards outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. (DoD photo: Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley)