Up to 1,000 British troops are being deployed to Poland for two major Nato exercises. Exercise Anakonda 2016 will involve up to 800 British troops and is a Polish-led exercise designed to conduct multinational training with NATO and partner nations. It will be conducted in the Ustka and Drawsko Pomorski Training Area, Poland.
Another 150 troops will participate in Exercise Swift Response 2016 which is a NATO training exercise built around conducting NATO airborne forces operations across four European nations. Swift Response is designed to demonstrate the alliance’s ability to operate from intermediate staging bases in Europe as well as conduct simultaneous airborne forcible entry and follow-on missions.
The Royal Navy will also increase their presence in the Baltic during 2016 with planned visits to Polish ports by the frigate HMS Iron Duke and the Royal Navy flagship, the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean (right). A third, undisclosed vessel, will also visit the country later in the year.
Defence secretary Michael Fallon is due to confirm the deployments following talks with his Polish counterpart Antoni Macierewicz. The Russian press have been quick to fire up the conspiracy theories however with the RT news channel hinting that the deployment comes amid Polish fears of Russian intentions in the region. The MoD’s official stance remains that the deployment is purely for training purposes.