The US Department of Defense announced the holding of major NATO naval exercises in the Mediterranean. This announcement comes a day after Russia announced that it will conduct major maneuvers in several seas, including the Mediterranean, around the same time. Among other things, the USS Harry Truman will take part in the exercises.
A US Defense Department spokesperson said the exercise, “Neptune Strike 2022”, had nothing to do with current tensions with Russia over Ukraine. According to him, the exercises have been on the NATO agenda since 2020. It will continue until February 4.
The NATO General Activities Schedule, updated in mid-December, does not yet include the “Neptune Strike 2022” exercise.
“The exercises themselves are not intended to address the kinds of scenarios that could arise around Ukraine,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. “This is a NATO naval exercise (…) intended to test a wide range of naval capabilities.”
Kirby acknowledged that the tense situation with Russia had led to discussions among NATO allies, but it was eventually decided to continue the exercises.
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