NATO allies UK and Poland hold biggest military training exercises in eastern Europe for 6 years
Colonel Maciej Jablonski, Polish military commander: "For us most important during this 'Black Eagle' exercise, 'Black Eagle' training, was to train my staff, my headquarters as well as my troops, to be ready to operate within the other allied forces. We train using the same procedures, procedure the NATO-1 of course."
UK military chiefs were enthusiastic about the joint drills held by the two NATO allies, which also included over 300 military vehicles.
General Nicholas Carter, UK military commander: "What we didn't used to do in those days, though, was to exercise with the Polish army. And the difference here of course is doing it with the Polish army and that's a really tremendous opportunity for us. And everybody's learned a lot about each other, made a lot of friendship, and frankly, that, I think, is the future. It's in NATO. And it's important to us."
NATO recently announced plans for a rapid response force to be permanently present in eastern Europe. The move follows concern from Poland, Romania and the three Baltic states over Russia's military invasion of nearby Ukraine.
NATO has demanded the Russian military pull back its forces deployed inside Ukraine and on the Russian border. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s Secretary General, made the comments during a visit to the alliance’s air traffic control centre in Lithuania, accompanied by Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.