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.
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.