DISINFO: NATO's politicians use Defender Europe 2020 as an opportunity to escalate tensions with Russia
  • Outlet: Sputnik Germany (archived)*
  • Date of publication: June 15, 2020
  • Outlet language(s): German
  • Reported in: Issue 202
  • Countries / regions discussed: US, Russia
Defender Europe 2020 security threat Military exercise Anti-Russian Encircling Russia NATO

DISINFO: NATO's politicians use Defender Europe 2020 as an opportunity to escalate tensions with Russia


NATO’s politicians use Defender Europe 2020 as an opportunity to escalate tensions with Russia. NATO is demonstrating its willingness to drive an opponent from the alliance territory if it enters, […]. In addition, troops involved in the manoeuvre (including those from the Czech Republic and Lithuania) will receive instruction in the use of American military technology, which will be offered for sale to NATO countries. (…) Part of this story is also that all the Baltic Sea countries are entitled to military manoeuvres in the region. However, NATO manoeuvres have been shifting more and more towards Russian borders for years. Alliance politicians use the exercises as an opportunity to escalate tensions with Russia.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that NATO threatens or encircles Russia and that the US-led military exercise Defender Europe 2020 is directed against Russia. NATO does not aim to escalate relations with Russia. Neither Defender Europe 2020 nor other NATO military exercises are directed against Russia. NATO is a defensive alliance, whose purpose is to protect the member states. The Alliance announces its military exercises well in advance and they are subject to international observation. NATO strongly supports efforts to build confidence and transparency on military activities and exercises. US Major General Andrew Rohling Deputy Commanding General for the US Army in Europe, informs that the US-led exercise "Defender 2020" is an American exercise with 18 NATO partner countries. Rohling emphasises that the aim of the exercise is not to target any country, but rather to test strategic readiness and how to react to a crisis. NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg affirmed as well that Defender Europe is not directed against any particular country. 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 Atlantic to various training areas in Europe, like Germany and Poland. With US Defender Europe 2020, the 18 participating NATO-countries are therefore practising procedures to ensure and demonstrate the ability to relocate and also to confirm the Alliance's commitment to supporting and, in particular, to show the United States' commitment to Europe's security. See more similar disinfo cases alleging that the US Defender 2020 military manoeuvre is explicitly directed against Russia, that Defender 2020 is a test to invade Kaliningrad region and that Defender 2020 is an anti-Russian provocation used to intimidate the Poles with an alleged Russian threat.


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