Coronavirus Scare Overpowers Russian Threat As Norway Cancels Cold Response 2020 Drills

In order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, the Norwegian army has cancelled the planned NATO Cold Response 2020 military drills in Norway. 

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Lieutenant General Rune Jakobsen, Chief of the operational staff at the Joint Operative Headquarters announced at a press conference that the exercise Cold Response 2020 will have a controlled closure.

“What is new since yesterday is that the coronavirus is out of control in society. We want to preserve the armed forces’ ability to fight so that we are able to support society in the complex period that will follow”, Rune Jakobsen said.

According to Jakobsen, the refusal to conduct Cold Response 2020 exercises was associated with the “uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus epidemic.” “We want to maintain the combat readiness of the armed forces in order to support society in the coming turbulent times,” Jakobsen said.

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According to available information, the Cold Response 2020 military drills were planned for March 12-18, consisting of ten NATO member states, in which about 15 thousand troops were expected to participate.

Norway is a key NATO member when it comes to cold weather military operations, and has extensive experience in this segment. This makes Norway a natural and accomplished host for winter exercises such as Cold Response.

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The foremost aim of the exercise is to secure the Norwegian Armed Forces and associates’ capability to lead multinational joint exercises with a high-intensity combat scenario in demanding winter conditions.

Another vital aspect of the drill is to train the large amphibious capacities which essentially means that the way to master the transition between the coast and the shore by, for example, practising assaulting a target on land from ships with the assistance from amphibious assault ships and helicopters.