Trump coronavirus fears: Russia and China will seek to take advantage MP warns NATO

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Daniel Kawczynski also suggested Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a key role to play in terms of international security by ensuring Britain played its part in with the United States distracted. And he also drew parallels with the assassination attempt of Ronald Reagan in 1981, which resulted in a similar period of uncertainty – and concerns that Moscow was preparing an invasion of Poland, the country where Mr Kawczynski was born.

Mr Trump was airlifted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, nine miles from the White House, on Friday, the day after he and First Lady Melania Trump were diagnosed with the illness, and he will remain there for “a few days”.

Mr Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, told Express.co.uk: “When there are moments of particular difficulty, such as at the moment, with the President suffering from COVID-19, our political and ideological opponents have always historically and will continue to potentially take advantage of that uncertainty.

“So whether it is the Kremlin, or whether it is the Chinese communist government, this is a time for the other NATO countries to be absolutely clear in our commitment to the ongoing exercises that we are pursuing in order to promote peace across the world.

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The role and responsibility of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others will be even more critical at this stage as President Trump recovers from COVID-19

Daniel Kawczynski MP

“Whether it is the ongoing violations by the Russians of the Baltic States’ maritime and airspace which take place, or whether it is the freedom-of-navigation exercises which America and Britain and Australia are carrying out in the South China Sea, our commitments stand by those unequivocally.

“So the role and responsibility of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others will be even more critical at this stage as President Trump recovers from COVID-19.”

Mr Kawczynski’s Polish heritage offers him a particular insight into the issue, and he referenced the Cold War to make his point.

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He explained: “In 1981, obviously under very different circumstances, when President Reagan was in hospital immediately after that terrible incident which occurred, the Soviet Union at that time realised the difficulties the Americans were going through.

“And they did increase troop movements around Poland.

“And of course, those were the days of Solidarity, and the Soviet Union wanted to take advantage of America’s distraction in pursuing its own nefarious activities.”

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Mr Kawczynski added: “I wouldn’t equate Vladimir Putin with Leonid Brezhnev but the gap between us and Putin’s Russia, and the gap between ourselves and communist China is palpable.

“They have a history of taking advantage in any way possible of any crisis that NATO member states face.”

Military aircraft dubbed “Doomsday planes” were tracked on both coasts of the United States yesterday – prompting claims they were launched to send a message to the country’s enemies.

Boeing E-6B Mercury planes, which communicate with US nuclear forces in the event that the nation’s ground-based command centres are attacked, were spotted over the East Coast close to the capital, Washington DC, and the West Coast above Oregon.

US Strategic Command spokeswoman Karen Singer denied the launches were linked with Mr Trump’s illess – but the incident served to highlight the heightened state of anxiety.

Speaking to Sky News yesterday, Professor Joe Siracusa, Professor of Human Security and International Diplomacy in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University in Australia, likewise said he expected Russia, China and other countries would seek to capitalise.

He added: “I’d make my move in places like Taiwan, or the South China Sea because this president isn’t going to do a damn thing about it because he might be on a ventilator or even worse intubated in the next couple days.

“We’re in for a serious ride here particularly if America’s enemies want to do something about this.

“I’m sure Putin and President Xi of China and Chairman Kim in North Korea and the Ayatollah in Iran are looking at this very carefully and might want to exploit a weakness.

“This is a hands-on president. Without this central figure, we’re going to look for some bad news coming up.”

Apart from the troop movements in eastern Europe detailed by Mr Kawczynski, after Mr Reagan was shot in 1981, the American military detected two Soviet ballistic missile submarines prowling close to the United States’ East Coast, putting Washington at closer range than normal.

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