BELGRADE – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts have allowed Moscow to create a potent military force in the country, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Philip Breedlove said.

“I look at the capabilities and the capacities that Mr. Putin is creating in his military force… As you know he has been investing strongly now in his military for over five years. He has created a very potent land force. You have seen his air forces in Syria recently and he has exercised that and he has also got into the long-range precision strike capabilities both from his ships and his submarines,” Breedlove told the Estonian ETV television channel on Monday.

Russia is currently implementing a large-scale rearmament program, announced in 2010, to modernize 70-percent of its military hardware by 2020. The total modernization program cost is estimated to reach about $291 billion.