Modified Polish-US military exercises to take place in June – ministry

DEFENDER-Europe 20 was to run from February to April, and 29,000 US soldiers from the US and from those stationed in Europe were to participate in exercises on training grounds in, among other locations, Poland, Germany and the Baltic States. Marcin Bielecki/PAP

Modified Polish-US DEFENDER-Europe 20 Plus military exercises will take place on June 5-19 at the Drawsko Pomorskie training grounds in northwestern Poland, the Polish Ministry of National Defense announced in a statement on Wednesday.

In total, approximately 6,000 soldiers, 100 tanks and over 230 combat vehicles will participate in the modified exercises, said the statement issued by the ministry.

The ministry also stated that the joint decision of the Ministry of National Defence and the US Department of Defense to carry out the active phase of the exercises was preceded by a thorough assessment of the situation and the work of planning teams. "The exercises, initially planned in May, will be carried out in compliance with all sanitary standards," it added.

The main purpose of Defender-Europe 20 is to build strategic readiness by deploying a combat credible force to Europe in support of NATO and the U.S. National Defense Strategy.

"DEFENDER-Europe 20 Plus is also a mutual confirmation of excellent Polish-American relations. It shows that, despite the pandemic, our troops are interoperable and capable, and prepared to conduct operations," declared the ministry.

DEFENDER-Europe 20 was to run from February to April, and 29,000 US soldiers from the US and from those stationed in Europe were to participate in exercises on training grounds in, among other locations, Poland, Germany and the Baltic States. A total of 37,000 soldiers from nearly 20 countries was to participate in these and related exercises. At the same time, and in coordination with DEFENDER-Europe 20 but not as part of it, the Anaconda exercises, the largest national exercises of the Polish army, were to take place. In mid-March, the transfer of troops from the US to Europe was suspended and exercises related to DEFENDER-Europe 20 were either modified or canceled. Part of the forces already transferred to Europe have been continuing training classes.