Most US troops for Defender-Europe 20 already in Europe - US ambassador

Marcin Bielecki/PAP

Most of the 20,000 American soldiers and their equipment scheduled to come to Europe as part of the Defender-Europe 20 military exercise are already here, US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher said in an interview with the Wprost weekly published Monday.

Asked whether the coronavirus situation in Europe was hampering the planned exercises, Mosbacher replied that she had recently been in Drawsko Pomorskie, north-western Poland, and though she did not want to foretell the future, most of the troops were already in Europe.

The ambassador went on to say that Defender-Europe 20 is a complicated operation and extremely costly to the American taxpayer and that it showed how untrue accusations were that the US only looked after its own interests and would not be here if Poland was not buying American defence equipment.

She said such claims really irritated her and asked rhetorically whether sending sons and daughters across the ocean prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice was really something that could be bought. She said there was no US president that would put soldiers' fates up for sale, and yet she constantly hears doubts as to whether the US is still engaged in NATO and in helping its allies.

Mosbacher highlighted that the manoeuvres are taking place in Poland, not in the USA, yet she said she still hears criticisms, for example when the Polish government decided to buy American F-35 jets.