The Pentagon announced on Friday (01.21.2022) the launch of a large-scale NATO naval exercise in the Mediterranean on Monday with the participation of the US aircraft carrier USS Harry Truman, amid tensions with Russia, which also announced naval maneuvers at the same time.
The exercise “Neptune Strike 22 will last until February 4 and is intended to demonstrate NATO’s ability to integrate a sophisticated maritime strike force” for purposes of deterrence and defense of the Alliance, said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
He assured that the maneuvers had been 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.
“I am pleased that the USS Harry S. Truman strike group is coming under NATO command for Exercise Neptune Strike in the Mediterranean,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a Twitter message. that he considered this move to be “a strong sign of transatlantic unity”.
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 tests in the Atlantic, the Arctic, the Pacific and the Mediterranean. Kirby acknowledged that the tense situation with Russia had sparked debates about the size of the naval exercise, but “after discussions with our allies, NATO decided to go ahead,” he explained.