Top Generals in NATO’s Defender-Europe Exercise Exposed to COVID-19
March 11, 2020 (EIRNS)—NATO’s much celebrated Defender-European 2020 exercise is the latest casualty in the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 10 Poland’s Defense Ministry announced that one of its top officers attending the meeting in Wiesbaden, Germany of the top NATO generals involved in the exercise, Gen. Jaroslaw Mika, had been infected with the virus. “After returning from an army gathering in Germany, General Mika has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Those accompanying him have been quarantined,” Poland’s Defense Ministry wrote March 10 on Twitter.
Because of Mika’s infection, other officers who attended the meeting have been quarantined, including Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander of the U.S. Army in Europe (USAREUR), according to Stars and Stripes, along with several of his staff who attended the meeting. Altogether 24 senior military representatives from NATO and partner countries who attended the meeting, at which they discussed how to run the exercise, are in quarantine. The generals had also deliberated on “proactive steps nations and military forces are taking to prevent the spread of [coronavirus] during the exercise,” U.S. Army Europe said in a statement after the meeting. Despite the danger to themselves and the general population, the exercise, which is costing the U.S. government $360 million, has not yet been cancelled
It is not reported whether the other 22 officers were quarantined as well.
In Norway, the Minister of Defense Frank Bakke-Jensen, has been quarantined after being exposed to coronavirus, the Defense Ministry reported. The Ministry also cancelled the Cold Response exercise, that involved 15,000 troops from nine countries, because of the disease threat.