Original title: Is it possible? 40,000 US special forces are currently landing across the EU while the media is “ENTERTAINING US WITH THE CORONA”.In the past few days, many F2N2 readers have contacted us and asked us to check out the information on posts on Serbian websites spread through Facebook profiles in North Macedonia, and referring to the alleged deployment of 40,000 US troops in Europe.

The title and the text do not correspond to each other. Namely, the title states that 40,000 US troops are deployed in Europe “while the media entertains us with the coronavirus”, while further in the text provides a detailed explanation on the role of each participating country in the exercise. The text also contains information from unknown senior US officers who allegedly said that “The US troops are completely healthy and hence immune to the coronavirus.” At the end, the author poses a series of questions and also asks the following: “If the soldiers are immune to coronavirus, does that mean the virus is not so dangerous, or is there an existing vaccine already?”

The portal, by twisting official informations about the exercise, creates a conspiracy theory whose ultimate goal is to portray the United States and its allies in a negative context, while also creating a sense of insecurity among the citizens.

Link of the archived original post can be find here.

The same article, with almost identical content, has been shared by several web portals predominantly from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and others.


DEFENDER EUROPE 20 is one of the largest multinational US-led NATO allies’ and partners’ exercises, scheduled to take place from April to May 2020, with preparatory and final exercise activities envisaged to take place from February to July 2020. This exercise aims to demonstrate unity – NATO’s allies and partners are stronger together, as a demonstration of the US military’s ability to protect its allies and partners from Europe.

Namely, this is the exercise with the largest US troops participation in the last 25 years. What is not true is that 40,000 US specialties will participate in the exercise. Specifically, it is expected that 18 countries to participate in the exercise, 10 of which will host exercise activities, with a total of 37,000 soldiers, of which 20,000 are US and 2,600 are British soldiers, while the remaining 14,400 soldiers will be deployed from the remaining 16 countries participating in the exercise.Source:  Army of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

According to official data released by SHAPE (The Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, which is the headquarters of NATO’s Allied Command Operations), the exercise predicts a deployment and withdrawal of troops which will develop in several steps.Through social media and also in the articles’ titles, this exercise is presented as a covert operation happening in the shadow of the pandemic coronavirus COVID-19. The exercise “DEFENDER EUROPE 20” was announced on October 7, 2019It is not true that this is some kind of a covert operation, but a US-led multinational exercise and all information on this exercise has been publicly available for months. In our country several portals have already written about this exercise, such as Nova MakedonijaVecer, and others. All official information can be found on the specialized site DEFENDER EUROPE 20. In terms of the conspiracy theories about COVID-19, the first case of coronavirus in China was registered on November 17, 2019, and the exercise was announced 40 days before the virus even appeared.

The text states that the US troops are immune to COVID-19. The F2N2 team didn’t manage to find any statement by senior US officers who allegedly said that US troops were immune to the coronavirus. At least 13 members of the US Department of Defense are infected with the coronavirus, 6 of which are service members and 7 are their dependents. Therefore, it is not true that US troops are immune to the coronavirus COVID-19. Also, at least 2 highly ranked military commanders in Europe from NATO member-states have tested positive for the coronavirus.

What is true is that US military doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that older people and adults with a weak immune system are at greater risk of developing COVID-19 coronavirus. According to them, most soldiers are young, and due to the fact that COVID-19 poses the greatest risk to the elderly and persons with impaired health and poor immunity, they are considered capable for work.

In accordance with the new situation, on 13.03.2020, NATO SHAPE (The Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, which is the headquarters of the NATO Allied Command Operations) issued a press release, where among other things, the following is stated:

“…The health protection of our force and that of our Allies and partners is a top concern. We take the coronavirus outbreak seriously…

…. In the light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, modifications have been decided and will reduce the number of participants from the United States in DEFENDER-Europe 20. This may cause an impact on NATO allies attending the exercise as well. The entire maneuver does not face cancellation…”

“ Defender Europe 20” exercise is scheduled to take place in northern European countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. All of these countries have reported cases of coronavirus COVID-19. Although Italy is one of the countries participating in the exercise, according to official information from the US military and NATO, no exercise is scheduled to take place in Italy.

To conclude, the data presented in the original article came from unreliable and unverified sources and some information was deliberately misused to distort the facts in order to create a sense of insecurity and panic among citizens, as well as to spread anti-NATO and anti-US narrative in the society.




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