US will not send troops for exercises in Europe, Baltics

The US said on Monday it will not send troops for the large-scale Defender 2020 exercise that were due to take place across Eastern and the Baltic states.

“In response to the current outbreak of the Covid-19 virus […] we have modified exercise Defender 2020 in size and scope,” the US military said in a press release on Monday. “As of March 13, all movement of personnel and equipment from the United States to Europe has ceased.”  Read more:  NATO exercises in Baltics to flex muscles unused for 18 years   

The US-led Defender 2020 exercises would have involved 20,000 American soldiers, and would have been the largest transfer of troops across the Atlantic in the last 25 years.

The drills were due to take part across 10 Euopean countries, including Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Georgia. “We anticipate the armored brigade combat team already deployed to Europe will conduct gunnery and other combined training events with Allies as part of a modified Allied Spirit exercise,” the US military said. “Forces already deployed to Europe for other linked exercises will return to the United States.”

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