NATO

Threats 'Don't Disappear' Amid COVID-19 Crisis, NATO Secretary General Warns

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenburg urged member states to not let the coronavirus crisis become a "security crisis".

The NATO Secretary General has warned threats that face the alliance "don't disappear" because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Jens Stoltenberg said alliance countries must not allow the pandemic to become a threat to security and warned Russia or terror groups could take advantage of the crisis.

"Our primary objective is to ensure that this health crisis does not become a security crisis," Mr Stoltenberg said in a conference. 

He added: "We still have terrorist threats...Al-Qaeda, ISIS, they don't disappear because of the COVID-19 crisis.

"We still have a unique opportunity for peace in Afghanistan, we need to be present and make sure we do everything that we can to create peace in Afghanistan.

“We, of course, see significant military activities close to NATO borders, with a new exercise in the western military districts of Russia close to NATO borders, we have seen a significant Russian presence in the North Sea."

On Thursday, foreign ministers from the 30 members of NATO will hold video talks to discuss the response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has killed 30,000 people in Europe alone. 

It comes as NATO personnel from the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, Britain’s leading contribution to the alliance, deployed to London to assist with the Ministry of Defence's response to the outbreak.

Earlier this week, the Czech Republic delivered 10,000 protective medical suits to NATO ally Spain, in an effort to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Spain is currently one of Europe's worst affected nations alongside Italy.

Cover image: Jens Stoltenberg speaks at the press conference (Picture: NATO).