(QHA) -

The top U.S. general in Europe said he is alarmed at the Russian militarization of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and by provocative Russian military flights in NATO airspace, VOA reports.

After meeting with Ukrainian leaders in Kyiv, General Philip Breedlove, head of the U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said the military buildup by Moscow includes cruise and surface-to-air missiles able to exert, as he put it, "military influence" on the region.

“We are very concerned with the militarization of Crimea. We are concerned that the capabilities in Crimea that are being installed will bring an effect on almost the entire Black Sea,” Breedlove said.

Breedlove also voiced concern about the nature of provocative Russian military flights being flown over NATO countries, although he stressed the flights are in international airspace.

“The number and pattern has changed, maybe as much as three times as much as we have seen before,” he said. “Also, we see that some of these flights have increased in size, normally before seeing only one or two airplanes and now seeing groups of airplanes.”

QHA