Disinfo: Defender 2020 is an anti-Russian provocation used to intimidate the Poles with an alleged Russian threat

Summary

Organization of the military manoeuvres [Defender 2020] close to the Russian border is a clear anti-Russian provocation – it suggests that an alleged military threat for Poland and NATO comes from the Russian Federation. These exercises do not improve the security of Poland – this country is rather perceived as a battlefield (as it happened during WWI and WWII).

De facto, the ruling Polish authorities carry out such actions [Defender 2020] in order to intimidate the Polish society with Russia in future.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that NATO is encircling Russia and that US-led military exercise "Defender-Europe 2020" is directed against Russia. Find similar cases here.

Exercise Defender-Europe 2020 is the deployment of a division-size combat-credible force from the United States to Europe, the drawing of equipment and the movement of personnel and equipment across the theatre to various training areas. The aim of the exercises is to increase strategic readiness and interoperability by exercising the U.S. military’s ability to rapidly deploy a large combat-credible force and equipment from the United States to Europe; and alongside its allies and partners, quickly respond to a potential crisis. "The joint, multinational training exercise is scheduled to take place from April to May 2020, with personnel and equipment movements occurring from February through July 2020. The exercise supports objectives defined by NATO to build readiness within the alliance and deter potential adversaries. Approximately 37,000 U.S., allied, and partner nation service members are expected to participate with roughly 20,000 Soldiers deploying from the U.S," is noted on the official web site of the exercises.

Eighteen countries are expected to participate, with exercise activities occurring across 10 countries. More details about the exercise can be found here.

At a press conference in Berlin on January 14, 2020, the Deputy Commander of the US Armed Forces in Europe, General Andrew Rawling, announced that the Defender 2020 is not directed against Russia or against another country: "These manoeuvres are not related to any particular country. In this, they differ from past exercises of the Cold War. It is a question of defence in general under various crisis scenarios."

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 186
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 27/02/2020
  • Language/target audience: Polish
  • Country: Russia, US, Poland
  • Keywords: Defender Europe 2020, Military exercise, US presence in Europe, NATO
  • Outlet: Sputnik Polska
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Disproof

A common pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on “lost sovereignty” - in the case of Poland, this country is often presented as a “puppet-state” or a “banana republic” of the United States, which fully controls the domestic and foreign policy of this country.

Poland is a sovereign state, which shapes its own foreign and domestic policies. The political, economic and military relations between Poland and the United States have mutually beneficial character. In terms of the purchase of the American F-35 fighters, the Polish authorities have repeatedly stated that they carried out tough negotiations to reach the best price for F-35. The price negotiations took place after the approval of the sale of F-35 to Poland by the US Congress.

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Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism – it accuses the Baltic states, Ukraine and Poland in “falsification and re-writing” of their history.

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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative attempting to link the Baltic countries, Ukraine, and Poland with NazismFascism, and anti-Semitism. The accusation of Nazism is a popular propaganda technique used by pro-Kremlin outlets as explained in our following analysis Nazi east, Nazi west, Nazi over the cuckoo's nest.

The statement that the USA allegedly promotes “the cult of Nazi collaborators” throughout Eastern Europe in order to spread its military interests is an evident conspiracy theory and a part of the Kremlin’s efforts aimed at discredit NATO and the US military presence in Eastern and Central Europe.