Polish military says drills have nothing to do with situation in region
Poland is taking part in two large-scale multinational exercises and is the host nation of one of them, the country’s defense ministry revealed on Sunday amid Russian allegations that Warsaw is preparing to occupy the part western Ukraine.
Defender Europe 2022 (DE22) and Swift Response 2022 (SR22) will be conducted in nine countries, including Poland, from May 1 to 27, the Polish ministry said.
“About 18,000 participants from more than 20 countries will train together in the two exercises. The part of the exercises on Polish soil will see some 7,000 troops and 3,000 pieces of equipment“, we read in the press release.
Defender Europe is a multinational exercise conducted regularly by the United States which aims to “enhance readiness and interoperability between Allies and partners” NATO and America. DE22 training will take place at several sites in Poland, with Polish soldiers who will be joined by personnel from the United States, France, Sweden, Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom.
The Swift Response exercise will involve the deployment of around 550 Polish soldiers to Lithuania and Latvia, as well as troops from the Czech Republic and a German-Dutch force.
“Combined joint exercises such as these enhance the security of NATO’s eastern flank through training in accordance with NATO standards and procedures.“, underlined the Ministry of Defense.
He added that the exercises also contribute to the preparation of the allies “meet new and emerging challenges on the contemporary battlefield in order to deter a potential aggressor.
The military specifically pointed out that DE22 and SR 22 “do not target any country and are not linked to the current geopolitical situation in the region,in a veiled reference to the ongoing Russian military offensive in Ukraine.
The assurances come as the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergei Naryshkin, has accused Warsaw of preparing to occupy the western part of Ukraine, which Poland considers “historically belonging” to that. The potential “reunificationof Poland with western Ukraine will present itself under the guise of deploying a “maintain the peace“mission to the country under the pretext of protecting kyiv from”Russian aggression“, the official said. Warsaw denied the allegations.
For years, Russia has expressed concern about NATO’s eastward expansion, which it sees as a direct threat to its own security. This factor, along with the possibility of Ukraine eventually joining the alliance, were cited by Moscow as the main reasons for launching its military offensive.