After careful review and planning between the U.S. Army Europe and the Polish Department of Defense, Exercise Allied Spirit, an exercise originally planned for May by DEFENDER-Europe 20, will take place on June 5, 2020, in the Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland training area-19. Other countries like Lithuania, Romania and North Macedonia will be the scene for the alleged “wargame“, but also non-members like Sweden, Norway and Finland will be part of it too.
Approximately 6,000 U.S. and Polish soldiers will take part in the exercise. Of these, approximately 4,000 US soldiers will come from the headquarters of the 1st Cavalry Division (forward); 2nd Panzer Brigade Combat Team and 3rd Combat Aircraft Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division; and about 2,000 Polish soldiers will come from the 6th Polish Airborne Brigade; 9th Polish Armored Calvary Brigade; and 12th Polish Mechanized Brigade.
The Lithuanian Armed Forces support the exercise and plan to take part in it alongside other NATO allies in order to develop its own division-level headquarters capability at the exercise. The Lithuanian Armed Forces are assisting in ensuring proper preparations, host nation support, and seamless organization of the exercise on the territory of Lithuania.
The Balkans – North Macedonia
The small country, recently re-named North Macedonia instead of Macedonia after some conflicts with EU-member Greece, had to be part of NATO, so during the COVID-19 crisis, NATO pushed to let North Macedonia be part of NATO, on March 27, 2020, it became a NATO member. The people of North Macedonia had no say in this, and there were huge demonstrations in Skopje in 2018-2019 as I recall, having been there during the last demonstration. It was necessary for NATO‘s DEFENDER-20 wargame that North Macedonia should be part of NATO because they are strategically situated between the borders of Greece, Albania, and Bulgaria — all NATO members — and Serbia and Kosovo.
This week President Trump announced that the US is going ahead with scrapping its military agreements with Russia. The US is expected to withdraw soon from the Open Skies Treaty, a 2002 accord involving 35 states, including Russia, that allows countries to conduct unarmed fly-overs of member states with the purpose of monitoring each other’s military facilities. Last year,