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The aspirations of Sweden and Finland to join NATO will not require the deployment of additional US ground forces in either of these countries, said Army General Christopher Cavoli, who is nominated for the post of Supreme Commander of the Allied Armed Forces of NATO in Europe, reports AP.

Military exercises and the occasional rotation of US troops are likely to increase, he said. He noted that the increased attention of the military will probably continue to be given to Eastern Europe. “The center of gravity of NATO forces has shifted eastward,” Cavoli told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his nomination hearing. “Depending on the outcome of the conflict, we may have to continue that for some time.”

He noted that the increase in the American contingent in Europe is not connected with the applications of Finland and Sweden for membership in NATO.

Cavoli noted that the US already has strong military ties with both countries and that additional exercises and other activities are likely to increase.

“One must not shy away from activity to stay strong and outline our priorities,” he said, but the U.S. also must be careful “not to overdue that and create a problem where there wasn’t one."

Members of the committee expressed their support for his candidacy, which is expected to be easily confirmed by the Senate.

Cavoli has extensive experience in Russia. He served as an officer abroad, focusing on Eurasia, spent time in Russia and speaks Russian, Italian and French. He was also Director for Russia at the Joint Staff.

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