Commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe Ben Hodges said, Censor.NET reports citing RBK.
Lieutenant-General Ben Hodges said that an attack on another neighbor does not seem like an immediate threat because Moscow appears to have its hands full in Ukraine for now. But that could change within a few years, when upgrades sought by President Vladimir Putin would give Russia the ability to carry out up to three such operations at the same time, without a mobilization that would give the West time to respond.
"Right now, without mobilizing, I don't think they have the capacity to do three major things at one time. They can do one thing, I think, in a big way without mobilizing. But in four to five years, I think that will change," Hodges said.
"Certainly within the next four to five years they will have the ability to conduct operations in eastern Ukraine and pressure the Baltics and pressure Georgia and do other things, without having to do a full mobilization," he added.
The war in Ukraine, in which NATO says Moscow has supported pro-Russian rebels with arms and troops, has alarmed some of Russia's other neighbors, who are seeking greater reassurances for their defense from the Western alliance. Moscow denies its active troops have fought in eastern Ukraine, but Western governments say they have evidence it has sent armored columns and hundreds of soldiers. More than 4,000 people have died in the conflict, including nearly 300 on board a Malaysian airliner shot down over rebel-held territory.
Russia adopted the new military doctrine at the end of December. The main external threat according to the document is NATO expansion. The doctrine also claims the right to use nuclear weapons in response to aggression.