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    Soldiers from NATO countries attend an opening ceremony of military exercise 'Saber Strike 2015', at the Gaiziunu Training Range in Pabrade some 60km.(38 miles) north of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Monday, June 8, 2015

    NATO Cannot Protect Baltic States From Military Action by Russia - Hodges

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    NATO will not be able to protect the Baltic states if Russia decides to take any military actions against them, US Army Europe Commanding Gen. Ben Hodges said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On June 6-17, NATO held the 2016 Anaconda drills with the involvement of troops from over 20 member states of the Alliance, bringing together some 31,000 servicemen, 100 aircraft, 12 vessels and 3,000 vehicles. According to Hodges, the exercises showed that the Alliance had several problems and was too slow compared to the Russian military.

    "Russia could conquer the Baltic States faster than we would be there to defend them," Hodges said in an interview with the Zeit newspaper published Wednesday.

    Hodges agreed with the assessment of military analysts, according to which Russian troops could conquer the Baltic capitals within 36 to 60 hours, the newspaper reported.

    NATO has been reinforcing its military presence in Europe, particularly in the Eastern European states, since the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, citing Russia's alleged interference in the conflict as a justification for the move. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations, calling NATO's military buildup near Russia’s borders provocative.

    The Alliance's members are set to discuss increasing activities on NATO eastern flank on July 8-9 at the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw.

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    NATO, Ben Hodges, Baltic Region, Russia
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