Poland, NATO states hold major drill
WARSAW , Poland (AP)—Poland and many NATO members are launching their biggest ever joint exercise in Poland as central and eastern European nations are seeking strong security guarantees among concerns about Russia’s assertiveness and actions.
Officials opened the Polishled Anaconda-16 exercise Monday during a ceremony in Warsaw. It will involve some 31,000 troops from Poland, the U.S. and 17 other NATO member nations and from five partner nations, according to Poland’s military Operational Command that is organizing and coordinating the exercise.
Russia says that any pres- ence of NATO troops close to its borders is a threat to its security and recently warned it will take measures to respond. It hasn’t commented on the exercise opening Monday.
Poland and other nations in the region, as well as NATO leaders, are stressing that any military presence or exercises are purely defensive and deterrent measures focused on threats from the Middle East.
The drill is part of NATO’s exercise program and is held just weeks before NATO holds a crucial summit in Warsaw expected to decide that significant numbers of NATO troops and equipment will be based in Poland and in the Baltic states.—AP