Author’s Note: This is a satirical article meant to highlight the absurdity of Russia’s reportedly low COVID-19 infection rate and it’s continued use of hybrid warfare in conflicts with its neighbors.
After a frenzied 24 hours of military activity, President Vladimir Putin announced that the Russian military has sent assistance to the Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, all countries formerly occupied by the Soviet Union. To a pool of international reporters, he said “the brave citizens of our neighbor countries can rest easy knowing that the Russian military will protect them from the COVID-19 virus. OPERATION ISOLATION is the first step in creating a strong Russian (led) Corona Free Bloc, or RCFB.” He added that since Russia has an unprecedented low infection rate, it is only natural for them to aid their neighbors with military assistance.
OPERATION ISOLATION started around dusk on Thursday, utilizing several armored divisions that recently participated in training exercises in Eastern Ukraine. The Russian 6th Army moved out from positions along shared borders under a disinfectant spray of artillery and rocket fire provided for the benefit of their respective colleagues. A Russian doctor riding in the cupola of a T-90 tanks stated that “the disinfectant spray is a guarantee that our Baltic comrades will not succumb to the COVID-19 virus, and will not interfere with our assistance.” The Doctor also urged Baltic military members to remain home to protect their families, because “the brave and immune Russian soldiers will protect their homes, schools, C4I nodes, supply depots, government facilities, and lines of communication from… the virus.”
Prior to the tanks and disinfectant spray, hundreds of Little Green Medics were observed at many of the locations described by the Doctor. These teams set up COVID-19 testing clinics fully stocked with medical supplies including AK-74s, plastic explosives, and RPGs. Seen as armament to most of the world, the Green medical professionals assured locals that the supplies represented cutting edge virus detection equipment, and they shared new “lead based” medical treatments liberally with local military and law enforcement officials whenever they approached the clinics. When local civilians asked how they could receive testing, the same Green Medics said that follow-on medical forces would set up education and testing camps staffed by RCFB professionals. Those most vulnerable to the virus could expect house calls direct from Russia’s finest medical minds.
Although conventional medical units were not immediately discernable amongst the tanks, armored personnel carriers, and artillery, Russian propaganda officers assured reporters and the public that the force has everything it needs to combat the virus. Colonel Yuri Romanovski reported “We have all the necessary units. Because the threat is airborne, we have sent a squadron of Su-34’s to each of the international airports, and have dispersed several surface-to-air missile batteries across key tactical locations.” Furthermore, it only “makes sense” to place the batteries in densely packed urban areas and near hospitals where the virus is most prevalent. He also emphasized that the Lithuanian border with Poland was secured by armored units to ensure the disease could not cross the border. Similar support was provided by the Russian Navy to isolate major ports in the three countries. The 6th Army commander Colonel General Alexadrov has asked that personnel from outside the RCFB, notably any from NATO countries, avoid approaching Baltic borders or airspace due to the likelihood of their contamination and the subsequent need for disinfectant spray and lead treatments. He promised that his forces did not require any outside assistance to implement ISOLATION.
The COVID-19 virus has reportedly jammed all telephone, radio, and internet signals, so members of the international press have had difficulty reporting on conditions within the countries. Still, a Pravda release stated that all three Baltic presidents said the exact same thing, and that “people should rejoice and follow the instructions of our Russian comrades as they protect us within their greater Russian People’s Republic.” Putin followed those statements by ensuring people across Eastern Europe that Russian troops were available to protect any of their homelands from the COVID-19 virus, unlike NATO troops, and that he was committed to their protection through the rest of his duly-elected presidency. He even offered assistance to Finland, but adamantly caveated that all support had to be in place before the start of winter. When asked about the ultimate goal of the RCFB, Putin replied “I imagine Russian troops combating this virus all through Eastern Europe and beyond. NATO is too divided to protect people, so the Russian military will liberate people from COVID-19 and the inept governments that are not up to the challenge. I would love to see the RCFB banner flying over Berlin.”
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About the Author: Ian Bertram is an Air Force helicopter pilot and Air Advisor with delusions of grandeur as a historian and strategist. With an M.A. in military history, he has written articles for The Strategy Bridge, Small Wars Journal, Air and Space Power Journal’s new Wild Blue Yonder digital journal, and others. He enjoys dark beers but is not above a PBR when the time is right.
Cover photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons