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The Pentagon official noted that the Russian army “has been using stepped-up snap exercises at home to rattle Europe and intentionally blur the lines between training and rehearsals for activity outside its borders,” according to Defense News.

“The recent snap exercises have been realistic, they have been threatening, they have shown a level of sophistication that I have not seen in 20 or so years,” Stewart said.

Read alsoPoroshenko says Russia trying to distract world's attention from UkraineThe General said that “Russia’s future force will be smaller, but more capable of handling a range of contingencies on Russia’s periphery and expeditionary operations.”

Read alsoQuestions linger over Russia's endgame in Syria, Ukraine and Europe – The New York TimesHowever, Russia’s ambitious rearmament program “is expected to be challenged by corruption and industrial inefficiency, Western sanctions, and the poor state of its economy.”