On March 13, 2020, the German Bundeswehr command announced a decision to withdraw from the NATO anti-Russian exercises Defender Europe 20 . Due to the spread of coronavirus, German troops will not be involved in maneuvers.
The exercises of Defender Europe 20 began in February and were to continue until June. They are the largest training in the transfer of US troops from the United States to Europe in the past 25 years.
The main training venue is training grounds in Poland and Germany. The equipment for the American armored brigades participating in the exercises is unloaded at the ports of Belgium, Holland and Germany or canned from warehouses in Belgium and Germany. Further, this equipment and weapons are transported across Germany by convoys to the training sites at training grounds in Germany and Poland. The logistics of these shipments was provided by 1,500 German troops. It was planned up to 100 rail transportation by trains to the training site and up to 50 days of convoy transportation on roads. This task has only partially been completed to date.
The departure of the Bundeswehr from the exercises of Defender Europe 20 means a stop on the entire supply line of military equipment and weapons for the exercises. According to the AFP news agency, the further transfer of American soldiers to exercises from the US through German airports has been stopped. This means the actual curtailment of the teachings.
Since February 20, the Germans managed to deliver tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other equipment partially to one US armored brigade to the training site in Poland at the Dravsko Pomorsko training ground. Military personnel of the 2nd Armored Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division arrived at a training ground in Poland through German airports from the USA.
But on March 12, the U.S. Department of Defense announced a reduction in the training program. Now the Pentagon is expected to officially confirm the stop of Defender Europe 20 maneuvers. After all, the decision of the Bundeswehr command blocks the key logistics of the exercises. Already received reports of the suspension of unloading of transport vessels with military equipment in the ports of Belgium and the Netherlands. On March 13, two transport vessels, Resolve and Benavidez, remained at sea in front of the port of Vlissingen, but did not call for unloading.
Recall also that earlier the Norwegian authorities decided to cancel the rest of the NATO Cold Response 20 exercises . As reported on the eve of March 11, the US European Command (EUCOM), this is due to precautionary measures in connection with the outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19.