United States Army in Europe Commanding General Ben Hodges said that he has “strong concerns” over the Russian air defense systems and anti-ship missile complexes which can deny access to larges swaths of areas. He pointed out that in case of conflict, Russia could create a defense zone over the Black Sea, keeping NATO away from Russia.
Russia has drastically modernized its military in recent years, implementing the most radical reforms since the end of 19th century, according to Vasiliy Kashin, a Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAS) analyst.
According to Kashin, Russia’s army has become more powerful than all the European armies combined. However, he stressed, the competition with Washington is still tough for Moscow, and it has prompted Russia to focus on the development of nuclear deterrence systems.
Russian air defense compounds and highly mobile special operation forces units are armed well enough to be comparable those of NATO, Mark Galeotti, Professor of Global Affairs at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University.
This pushes NATO officials to take steps aimed at deterrence, as many of them claim that Russia’s military growth threatens their security. For instance, Lithuanian ambassador to NATO Indulis Berzinsh claimed that alliance should be ready to combat Russia in the Baltics.