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American army commander says US committed to NATO, Europe

FILE - In this March 24, 2016 file photo Commander of U.S. Army Europe Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges speaks to the media during the joint NATO military exercise at the Rukla military base some 120 km. (75 miles) west of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania. Hodges will is retiring. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis, file)

BERLIN — The outgoing US Army Europe commander says America's continued commitment to European security in the face of Russian aggression is in Washington's interest.

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges said yesterday in Wiesbaden that the US wants Russia to be "once again part of the international democratic community," according to prepared remarks.

But, he says Russia "must abide by its agreements and international law and norms and respect the sovereignty of European nations." He emphasized the importance of NATO's Eastern European deterrence missions.

Hodges says America's commitment to NATO "remains unshakable and as firm as it always has been," and that "stability and security in Europe directly affect stability, security and economic prosperity in the United States."

Hodges' deputy, Maj. Gen. Timothy McGuire, becomes acting commander until a permanent replacement is confirmed.

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