The Pentagon announced on Friday the launch of a large-scale NATO naval exercise in the Mediterranean on Monday involving the US aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman, amid tensions with Russia, which also announced naval exercises at the same time.
The exercise “Neptune Strike 22” will last until February 4 and is intended to demonstrate the ability of the NATO to assemble a sophisticated maritime strike force” for purposes of deterrence and defense of the Alliance, said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
Kirby assured that the maneuvers were planned since 2020 and that they had nothing to do with the current tensions over Ukraine.
“The exercise is not designed to counteract the kind of scenarios that could occur around Ukraine,” he said.
For its part, Russia announced large-scale naval exercises on Thursday. More than 140 warships and some 10,000 troops will take part in January and February military rehearsals in the Atlantic, the Arctic, the peaceful and the Mediterranean.
Kirby acknowledged that the tense situation with Russia had sparked discussions about the size of the naval exercise, but “after discussions with our allies, the NATO decided to move on,” he explained.