Poland seeks tighter ties with US - MoD

Rafał Guz/PAP

Poland wants its relations with the US to be even closer, Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said during a visit to a training ground in Drawsko Pomorskie, northwestern Poland, where Polish and American soldiers take part in Defender-Europe 20 military exercises.

On Wednesday, Blaszczak along with US Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher watched the ongoing Polish-US manoeuvres.

The Polish official said he was impressed with the skills presented by the Polish and American soldiers and that the coronavirus epidemic did not prevent the military exercises to be held in "full range," he said.

In Blaszczak's opinion, "the Polish-US exercises are more intense as a result of the excellent cooperation of Polish and US presidents Andrzej Duda and Donald Trump," and the fact that Defender-Europe 20 Plus is held under command of Brigadier General Brett Sylvia, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division in Poznan, western Poland, proves a good Polish-US cooperation.

The US ambassador said the Defender exercises show the "unique" US-Polish bond, which also "strongly connects" President Trump and President Duda, this will soon be seen to become even stronger.

In her opinion, the exercises are further proof of the two countries' ever growing commitment to the North Atlantic Alliance.

The US army commander for Europe, Lieutenant General Christopher Cavoli thanked the general commander of Poland's armed forces, General Jaroslaw Mika for professional cooperation and said how important it was to be able to carry out the exercises despite the pandemic and show the ability to maintain readiness.

According to Brigadier General Brett Sylvia, the implementation of Defender-Europe 20 Plus was a bold move amid many Covid-19 related factors. He pointed to the fact that some control functions were performed from Texas in a virtual way, and then integrated on the battlefield by the American and Polish command. He called the ongoing exercises a masterclass of interoperability.

The Commander of the 12 Mechanised Division from Szczecin, northern Poland, Major General Maciej Jablonski talked about the importance of the training aspect of the exercises, the integration of procedures and the command support system, which enabled rapid decision making in the areas of planning, organising and conducting combat operations. He also pointed to the role of logistic and medical support in relation to the risks posed by the epidemic.

Modified Polish-US DEFENDER-Europe 20 Plus military exercises with the participation of the armed forces are essential to ensure reliability, combat capacity and deterrence, the commanders of the Defender-Europe 20 Plus exercise have said.

The Defender-Europe 20 Plus manoeuvres, ongoing on a training ground in Drawsko Pomorskie, northwestern Poland, are the result of modifications made to the Defender-Europe 20 and Allied Spirit exercises due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Defender-Europe 20 Plus is running from June 5-19 with the participation of 4,000 American soldiers and 2,000 Polish soldiers, as well as around 2,000 pieces of equipment, including tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery, missile systems and aircraft.