01:53 GMT16 July 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States plans to engage up to 1,000 troops in the second phase of the DEFENDER-Europe 20 exercise in Germany this summer, a US Army spokesperson said on Friday.

    "Planning efforts for the second phase of DEFENDER-Europe 20 are ongoing. This includes a battalion-level exercise at the Bergen-Hohne Training Area, Germany, which is tentatively scheduled to occur later this summer," the spokesperson said.

    US Army Europe is also planning to organize additional exercises over the next several months, the spokesperson also said.

    "These exercises will use many of the original DEFENDER-Europe 20 training objectives to enhance readiness and interoperability between US, allied and partner militaries," the spokesperson added.

    The US military said it planned its largest deployment of troops to Europe in 25 years with 20,000 servicemen from the United States and 9,000 servicemen stationed in Europe joining the DEFENDER-Europe 20 exercise.

    However, the US European Command reported in mid-March that the Defense Department had frozen troop movements due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and soldiers already deployed to Europe for other exercises would return to the United States.

    The final stage of DEFENDER-Europe 20 exercise was supposed to be held from April 20 to May 20 in Germany, Poland and the Baltics with the participation of 37,000 troops from 18 countries.

    Russia has repeatedly characterized DEFENDER-Europe 20 as offensive in nature and urged the West to avoid participating in it. The exercise takes place in a year during which the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II is celebrated.

    Tags:
    Poland, drills, Germany, United States
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