Russia may use military resources to fight COVID-19: Putin

Russia may resort to its military resources in the fight against COVID-19 if the situation in the country continues to worsen, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday.

“The Defense Ministry is working, I repeat, quite efficiently, but it is using only a fraction of what it has, and it is involved abroad, while the main resources are still in reserve,” Putin said at a meeting with senior government officials involved in the battle against COVID-19.

The situation in Russia is worsening, with a rising number of infections, he said.

Russia has registered a total of 18,328 cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, with the number of infected rising by a new daily record of 2,558, and the death toll reaching 148.

Russia has sent medical military specialists, testing devices and protection gear to Italy and Serbia to help these countries combat the disease.

Putin also said that the government has allocated additional funds to the Defense Ministry to build new infectious disease hospitals in various regions across the country, which could be used to treat civilians.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said last week that the ministry had received 8.8 billion rubles (around 120 million U.S. dollars) from the state budget to build 16 multifunctional medical centers, which will be commissioned between April 20 and May 15.