NATO scales down exercises due to coronavirus
NATO is scaling down military exercises in Europe to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but alliance missions are continuing, including the drawdown of the U.S.-led force in Afghanistan following a peace agreement last month, Reuters reports.
“Some of our exercises have been modified or canceled ... but our forces remain ready,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a video news conference.
The U.S. Army has already announced a halt to movement of military personnel from the United States to Europe and said it plans to scale down its Defender Europe 20 exercises, billed as NATO’s biggest war games in Europe since the Cold War.
Stoltenberg encouraged NATO countries to maintain their military spending despite the economic shock of the virus outbreak, because of the role the military can play in helping to fight it.
“We see that in many allied countries, the armed forces are providing support,” Stoltenberg said, citing logistics, border security, military hospitals and other medical support.