Russia has been warned by NATO on Thursday that we are ready for an attack, and the military alliance remains strong despite the coronavirus crisis.
NATO chiefs said they will stand up to any threat from Russia after Putin’s military have showed their strength by hunting down a theoretical “enemy submarine” in the Mediterranean Sea.
Europe is now exposed to Russia, and military experts fear Putin could use the coronavirus pandemic as a cover to start a military strike.
NATO exercises have been scaled back in Europe as the UK are using the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to fight against coronavirus.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg insisted that “operational readiness” has not been compromised over the global coronavirus pandemic, in protecting almost 1bn people.
He told a video news conference, “Our primary objective is to ensure that this health crisis does not become a security crisis.”
Last month General Stoltenberg said, “It is very likely that Russia will try to take action while the US and NATO is distracted with Covid-19, arguably the first time we have a serious home threat that is impacting our readiness.
“In terms of overall readiness, the question is, how many soldiers can you cut from a brigade before it is in-operational?
“The other challenge is the logistics and supply of strategic medical reserves. The US’s number poised: Putin one priority is saving American lives. This means fewer personnel abroad and less resources.
“All this is ringing alarm bells in foreign capitals.”
The US have said the coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on troop movements across Europe.
A spokesman for US European Command said: “In response to the current outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and recent guidance by the Secretary of Defence, we have modified exercise DEFENDER-Europe 2020 in size and scope.
“All movement of personnel and equipment from the United States to Europe has ceased.
“The health, safety and readiness of our military, civilians, and family members is our primary concern.”
The former US diplomat Brett Bruen, the head of the Global Situation Room think tank, said the decision made by the US to send just 6,000 US troops to Europe’s exercise, Defender Europe 20, and move troops back to the US to help with coronavirus was “carefully watched by Putin.”