by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – In the first such operation since the Cold War of the 1980s, U.S and British Navy vessels sailed into the Arctic Barents Sea Monday, between the northwest coast of Russia and Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. The US military said Russia had been given prior notice of the operation in order to avoid any “inadvertent escalation.”
In a press release Monday the US military said the operation was carried out to “assert freedom of navigation and demonstrate seamless integration among allies.” Around 1200 U.S and UK crew members took part in what was also an exercise in operational preparedness in diverse climates and conditions: “Allied and partner navies must remain proficient in all operating environments to ensure the continued security and access to the seas,” the US Navy said.
The vessels deployed in the exercise were US Navy destroyers USS Donald Cook, USS Porter, and USS Roosevelt and the British Royal Navy frigate HMS Kent, supported by fast combat support ship USNS Supply. There were no reports of close interaction between the US and UK ships and Russian vessels, the Washington Times said Monday.
In regards to reaction from Russia, the Washington Times reported: “there was no major outcry from top Russian officials.”
However, Business Insider reported, “Russia said at noon in Moscow on Monday that its Northern Fleet had begun monitoring the US and British ships.”
The operation was carried out following tensions with Russia over its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its ongoing military interventions in Ukraine. The US Navy said it had told Russia’s Ministry of Defense about the operation on May 1 “to avoid misperceptions, reduce risk, and prevent inadvertent escalation.”
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