The commander of U.S. forces in Europe, Gen. Ben Hodges, thinks Russia can easily invade the Baltic states before NATO has the chance to intervene.
Russia has the capacity to take over the Baltic capitals — in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — within 36 to 60 hours, by Hodges’ estimate. In the case of such a scenario, NATO wouldn’t have the time to mobilize its defense.
“Russia could take over the Baltic states faster than we would be able to defend them,” Hodges said in an article published Thursday in German newspaper Die Zeit.
More than 30,000 personnel from 24 NATO member states took part in the “Anaconda” military exercise from June 7 to 17 in Poland. The gathering was officially called a “Polish national exercise” because “some countries, like France and Germany, thought it would be too provocative toward Russia to call it a NATO exercise,” Hodges said.
While considered a “huge success,” Hodges said one of the findings is heavy military equipment can’t be moved fast enough from Western to Eastern Europe.
“The thing I worry about the most right now is freedom of movement,”Hodges said in an interview Monday on BBC’s HARDtalk. “The Russians are able to move huge formations and lots of equipment a long distance very fast.”
Another concern for NATO is the alliance’s communication technology and Russia’s tracking of it.
“Neither radio communication nor email are secure,” Hodges told Zeit. “I assume that everything I write on my BlackBerry is being monitored.”
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