Polish defence min inaugurates Polish-US exercises

Defender-Europe 20 Plus will involve the biggest transport of US troops to Europe in 25 years as part of a connected exercise, the Allied Spirit, originally planned for May. Marcin Bielecki/PAP

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak on Thursday morning inaugurated the two-week Defender-Europe 20 Plus Polish-US military exercise at a range in Drawsko Pomorskie in north-western Poland.

Defender-Europe 20 Plus will take place on June 5-19 and will involve the biggest transport of US troops to Europe in 25 years as part of a connected exercise, the Allied Spirit, originally planned for May.

After the inauguration, the minister viewed the first tactical operations conducted jointly by the Polish and American soldiers.

"The epidemic has changed our plans, but the most important thing is that we've been able to adapt immediately to changing circumstances," the Polish defence minister said.

"The Polish Armed Forces have not for a moment lost their combat readiness, and the presence of the United States in Poland throughout the time is proof of huge trust from our American partner," Blaszczak said.

Throughout the epidemic, the Polish Armed Forces "have been ready to protect the security of Poland, the NATO countries and its eastern flank," Blaszczak said.

He also noted the contribution of President Andrzej Duda to the adoption of Polish-American declarations on military cooperation, including the permanent presence of US troops.

In total, the Polish-US exercises involve around 6,000 soldiers and about 2,000 various types of equipment, including 100 tanks and over 230 combat vehicles.

Defender-Europe 20 Plus will allow checking, at the level of brigades, the ability of Polish and American soldiers to cooperate in a joint combat operation. The main goal is to increase strategic readiness and interoperability thanks to the ability to quickly deploy troops from the US to Europe, as well as to test the possibilities of host countries to accept them.