The nominee to become chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff says Russia presents “the greatest threat” to national security and its behavior is "nothing short of alarming."
Marine General Joseph Dunford said at his Senate confirmation hearing on July 9: "If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I'd have to point to Russia.”
"And if you look at their behavior, it's nothing short of alarming," he added.
Dunford also cited China, North Korea, and the Islamic State group as threats to U.S. national security.
The U.S. general also said it was "reasonable" to supply lethal arms to Ukrainians fighting against Russian-backed rebels.
Without that kind of assistance, he said, Ukrainian forces won’t be able to "defend themselves against Russian aggression."
Relations between Russia and the West have sunk to post-Cold War lows after Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and its support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The United States has imposed sanctions against Russia, but refrained from providing lethal arms to Ukrainian forces.