Defender 20 military exercise to bolster Polish security: President Duda

The US military exercise Defender-Europe 20 which is combined with other allied manoeuvers in the region is a massive joint military venture linked with the ongoing bolstering of Polish security, said President Andrzej Duda.

On Friday, the President called a meeting of the Defence and Interior Affairs ministers, as well as the highest army command, who presented the condition of preparations as regards the exercises.

The US-led multinational exercise Defender-Europe 20 is the largest unit-relocation operation of the US Army in Europe for over 25 years. After crossing the Polish border, the American units will head to training grounds located in northern Poland and the Baltic States.

“The exercise will last a few months, it will be a major military operation, which is also the result of my agreement with Donald Trump,” President Duda said, recalling that another manoeuvers codenamed Anaconda will take place in the country at the same time, engaging around 10,000 Polish soldiers.

The President stressed that given the size of the exercise, the allied armies’ soldiers would certainly be visible and would mark their presence in north and west Poland. He called for leniency and benevolence towards them “despite possible inconveniences related to road convoys”.

“I hope it will be an attraction above all for children, for all those who are interested in the armed forces," President Duda said, adding that the activity of the troops had been discussed and agreed with the local civil authorities.

He noted that this is "a large operation, but related to strengthening the security of our country."

"This is an exercise to demonstrate the ability to implement Article 5, that is, the allied support in an aggression situation," he said, stressing the defensive character of the venture.

Defender-Europe 20 is aimed to demonstrate the ability of rapid transfer of ready-to-fight division-size US forces to Europe to support their allies in the event of a crisis. About 20,000 troops will come to the continent from the US, while 9,000 of their compatriots will join them from bases all over Europe.

In total, around 37,000 soldiers from 18 countries will participate in the Defender exercise and lesser related manoeuvers. The operations will last until April. At Easter, so as not to occupy the roads, the Americans have planned a break, during which a return to home bases in the US is envisaged as a part of the exercise.