NATO’s Defender-Europe 22 drills underway in northeastern Poland

Polish President Andrzej Duda, Minister of Defence Mariusz Błaszczak, and the US Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski went to observe the joint manoeuvres of Polish, US, French and Swedish troops conducted as a part of a larger Defender-Europe 22 military exercises.

“Defender-Europe 22 is meant to be a display of NATO co-operation and abilities in collective defence. We can all see what is going on in Ukraine and we realise what the potential threat is,” said President Duda.

The President made a point of stressing that the NATO exercises have been planned for a long time. This is in contrast to a string of unannounced manoeuvres conducted by Russian and Belarusian armies shortly before their invasion of Ukraine, which in addition to letting soldiers practise conducting military operations, served as an intimidation tool. In the estimate of President Duda, the manoeuvres serve to show NATOs readiness to act in defence of member states’ territory. “I hope that it shows all my compatriots that our allies look after our security,” he said.

The US Ambassador, Mark Brzezinski, who was also in attendance, said that the most important message sent by the Defender 22 exercises is that the alliance is ready. He reaffirmed the US determination to defend Poland’s security, calling it “holy” for his country. As he stressed, NATO stands behind Poland and NATO unity and power are deterring factors. He went on to say that never have so many US military units been sent to Poland. There are 12,600 US soldiers in Poland at the moment.

Ambassador Brzezinski also highlighted the values Poland and the US mutually share, especially freedom. In his estimation, Poland and the US have exactly the same definition of what constitutes freedom. He also praised Polish efforts to assist Ukrainian refugees, calling Poland “a humanitarian superpower”.

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