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Across Poland the tanks roared...

Playing to aggravate the military-political situation in Eastern Europe, the United States, together with the European NATO countries and their allies, annually conduct about a dozen military exercises of various directions in the region. In this way, trained joint forces are progressively created, capable of carrying out a full range of military tasks in a crisis situation.

The next military exercise Defender-Europe 20 Plus will take place from 5 to 19 June at the largest Polish training ground in Drawsko-Pomorskie, 300 kilometres from the Russian border. It will be a deeply modified version of the exercise, which was supposed to be the largest in Europe after the end of the Cold War, but which was cancelled in spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The main episode, connected in a single concept and scenario with the main exercise, will be the complex bilateral Polish-American manoeuvres Allied Spirit 20, including an airborne operation and the crossing of a water barrier by armoured units simulating a full-blooded division.

These two purely offensive training tasks completely refute the numerous assurances of the military-political leadership of the NATO countries about the defensive nature of Defender-Europe 20 that were voiced back in the fall of 2019. Some military experts do not even exclude that the real purpose of the exercise is to practice the “occupation” of the Kaliningrad oblast and deprive Russia of the opportunity for an operational manoeuvre in the Baltic.

Initially, in addition to the United States and Poland, other European countries were to participate in the exercise. For example, Allied Spirit X, held last spring, was attended by military officials from 15 countries. However, this time the coronavirus and, as it turned out, the basic unpreparedness for the event have imposed significant restrictions.

Even prior to the exercise, a scandalous statement was made by the commander of the US Army in Europe (USAREUR), General Christopher J. Cavoli, who accused Poland of an extremely low level of organisation, insufficient quality of military logistics and infrastructure.

As a result, a total of about 6 thousand soldiers, 100 tanks and more than 230 combat vehicles will take part in the manoeuvres.

Polish side is represented by two thousand military servants of the 12th mechanized brigade from Szczecin, 9th Cavalry brigade of Braniewo and 6th Airborne brigade from Krakow.

On the American part, about 4 thousand soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division, known for their participation in numerous hostilities, the 2nd Armoured Brigade Combat Group “Spartans”, as well as the 3rd Infantry Division who gained experience in Iraq, and 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade will train to fight on the European soil. They have been at the training ground in Drawsko Pomorskie since the end of February and have already completed a number of training tasks, including together with the Polish part.

The military preparations of the US Army in Europe do not end there. In the next few months, additional exercises are planned in the Baltic region with the participation of artillery and air and missile defence forces.

It is logical that the Russian Federation cannot remain indifferent to the build-up of military activity in Eastern Europe. Back in April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sent a letter to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with a proposal to mutually suspend military activities during the pandemic, which was not taken into account.

As a result, on 20 May, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the upcoming exercises of the Baltic Fleet and the 6th Army of the Western Military District. “The Western strategic direction remains the most threatening for the military security of the Russian Federation,” he said.

As for our country, the strengthening of the offensive capabilities of military-political alliances in the European region, leading to the disruption of the existing balance of power, as well as the build-up of military infrastructure near the borders of Belarus are considered the main external sources of military threats. Therefore, following the instructions of the President of Belarus from the last year, the country’s security wing has developed adequate response measures.