Poland and more than 20 NATO member states are launching a large-scale military training exercise as part of efforts to assure central and eastern European countries concerned by Russia’s actions in nearby Ukraine.
The Poland-led, 10-day, Anakonda-16 exercises will involve 31,000 troops, 3,000 vehicles, 105 aircraft and 12 Navy ships.
“The Anakonda military exercise is an exercise which aims to test the capabilities of the alliance member states to defend the territory of the eastern flank of the alliance,” said Polish defense minister Antoni Macierewicz.
The joint forces will practice moves including a nighttime helicopter assault, bridge-building operations, and air defense. Other drills include a mass casualty evacuations and a chemical decontamination exercise.
U.S. Army Chief of Staff,Lieutenant General Mark Milley says the U.S.has a “single purpose” in the operation and that is to “demonstrate that we are shoulder to shoulder with the Polish people, we are shoulder to shoulder with the Polish army and we are shoulder to shoulder with NATO, to ensure that all of the countries of NATO remain free and independent.”