The U.S. Navy’s forward deployed ships to Europe have not changed their course, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said yesterday, denying potential move of the Navy ships to the Mediterranean Sea, and possibly the Black Sea, to oust Putin’s troops from Crimea.
Though some media outlets are speculating on possible ship movements in the region, Kirby said, there has been no change to U.S. military posture in Europe or the Mediterranean Sea.
“Our Navy units continue to conduct routine, previously planned operations and exercises with allies and partners in the region,” the press secretary said.
Ukrainian officials reported that four Russian navy ships in Sevastopol’s harbor had blocked two vessels controlled by Kiev, writes the Washington Post.
The U.S. Defense Department has “put on hold” military-to-military activities with Russia, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said last evening.
In a statement released to reporters, Kirby said the suspended activities include exercises, bilateral meetings, port visits and planning conferences.
“Although the Defense Department finds value in the military-to-military relationship developed in recent years with the Russian Federation to increase transparency, build understanding and reduce the risk of military miscalculation, Kirby said, ‘we have, in light of recent events in Ukraine, put on hold all military-to-military engagements between the United States and Russia,'”
Pentagon release read.
The Defense Department is closely monitoring the situation and remains in close contact with the State Department and other government agencies, as well as with allies, partners and NATO, the admiral said.
“We call on Russia to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine and for Russian forces in Crimea to return to their bases, as required under the agreements governing the Russia Black Sea Fleet,” he added.
Naval Today Staff, March 4, 2014, Image: US DoD