As the international court at The Hague grapples with the Philippines’ case brought against China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, and while Beijing and Washington trade verbal jabs almost daily over the issue, to help train the country’s forces and patrol its airspace and sea lanes, the U.S. Navy’s 7thFleet said in a statement on Thursday.
The EA-18G Growler is a formidable adversary. It is a variant of the combat-proven F/A-18F Super Hornet and provides tactical jamming and electronic protection to U.S. military forces and allies around the world.
The United States will maintain its presence in the Black Sea despite a Russian warning that a U.S. destroyer patrolling there undermined regional security, the U.S. Navy Secretary said.
The USS Porter entered the Black Sea this month, drawing heavy criticism from Moscow. Turkey and Romania are expected to push for a bigger NATO presence in the Black Sea at the NATO summit in Warsaw next month.
Aboard the USS Mason, another U.S. destroyer, in the Mediterranean on Thursday, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told Reuters that it was the U.S. Navy's job to deter aggression and keep sea lanes open.
"We're going to be there," Mabus said of the Black Sea. "We're going to deter. That's the main reason we're there -- to deter potential aggression."
Mabus spoke days after Russia criticized NATO discussions about a creating a permanent force in the Black Sea.
"If a decision is made to create a permanent force, of course, it would be destabilizing, because this is not a NATO sea," Russian news agencies quoted senior Foreign Ministry official Andrei Kelin as saying.
Russia, which annexed Ukraine's Crimea in 2014, has its own Black Sea Fleet based at Sevastopol.
The NATO summit takes place as relations between Russia and the alliance are severely strained over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis and in Syria. While Russia says it poses no threat to alliance, NATO is considering what to do to counter what it sees as growing Russian aggression.
Also increasing tensions with Moscow is the U.S. Navy's deployment of two aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean ahead the NATO summit as Washington seeks to balance an increase in Russian military activities in the Mediterranean.
On Tuesday, President Putin ordered a snap inspection of the combat readiness of the Russian armed forces, which is set to last until June 22. The move has already raised concerns within NATO: the alliance is now wondering if it is a coincidence that the test comes during its own military drills in Poland, the largest since the end of the Cold War.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered another unannounced inspection of Russia's Armed Forces to assess the state and readiness of Russia’s military arsenals.
Lukasz Kulesa analyst from London-based thinktank the European Leadership Network thinks it is no coincidence that the snap drill is taking place so close before next month's NATO summit in
"I’m sure part of the reasoning behind starting the drills is to balance the coverage of the NATO exercises in Eastern Europe and Baltic Sea area, and send a signal that Russia won’t be intimidated by the perspective of the NATO summit," he said in an interview with the Newsweek magazine.
When the democratically elected President of Ukraine was violently overthrown in February 2014 and replaced by a rabidly anti-Russian regime, not only the residents in the areas of Ukraine that had voted heavily for him (Crimea having voted 75% for him, and Donbass having voted 90% for him) were terrified by what they viewed to be a bloodthirsty new regime, but Russians were, too, because the dictators who were installed made clear their hatred of Russians and even of speakers of the Russian language – one of their first legislative initiatives was to outlaw the Russian language, but the blatant hatred there made the proposal die in Ukraine’s parliament because this new regime needed outside support, and outlawing a language spoken by around half of the nation’s population would have sparked international condemnation.
Ukraine is a nation that shares a long border with Russia, but does this give NATO a right to ‘defend’ Ukraine from ‘Russian aggression’? Is NATO trying to provoke a Russian invasion in order for NATO to have a pretext to launch a full-scale nuclear war?
And the threat that the United States and its allies were posing to Russian-speaking populations in other countries that border Russia was also being ignored by the US and its allies.