Massive NATO drills end in Poland
PR dla Zagranicy
Some 18,000 soldiers from 12 NATO countries on Tuesday concluded large-scale maneuvers in Poland, the latest in a spate of military exercises in the country this year.
President Andrzej Duda and Gen. Andrzej Lewandowski in Orzysz, northeastern Poland, on Tuesday.Photo: PAP/Tomasz Waszczuk
The drills, codenamed Dragon-19, were the biggest for Polish troops this year, and took place throughout the country on the ground, air, sea and in cyberspace, according to reports.
The conclusion of the manoeuvres coincided with the completion of a certification process for a unit of Polish troops known as the 21st Podhale Rifles Brigade as part of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak visited Orzysz in the northeast of the country, where the exercises wound down on Tuesday.
Dariusz Lewandowski, commander of the 21st Podhale Rifles Brigade, was elevated to the rank of general during ceremonies.
A spate of military exercises have taken place this month in Poland or close to its borders, with NATO, American, British and Polish forces being put through their paces.
According to the polityka.pl website, the aim has been to demonstrate “the military capability of grouping people and equipment, but also the political will to do so here, at NATO’s border with Russia and where the potential threat is the greatest.”
Earlier this month a large-scale air defence exercise involving several thousand NATO troops and called Tobruq Legacy-19 was held in another set of manoeuvres in northern Poland.
The Polish defence minister said last week that his country’s efforts to strengthen its military were a response to aggressive policies by Russia, its giant neighbour to the east.
His comments came a week after the Polish and US presidents signed a deal under which America will station around 1,000 extra troops in Poland.
Source: IAR, polityka.pl