The presence of the American navy is reinforced in the Mediterranean Sea
Pentagon leaders insisted the ship movements were unrelated to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
WASHINGTON — The confrontation over Russian troop buildups along the Ukrainian border continues to escalate.
Meanwhile, the United States Navy mustered great firepower in the Mediterranean region, with many of these ships and sailors coming from Hampton Roads.
navy time and USNI News report that four guided missile destroyers (the USS Gonzalez and the USS Mitscher based in Norfolk, as well as the USS Donald Cook and the USS The Sullivans based in Mayport, Florida) have deployed to the area of operations of the US 6th Fleet to support NATO allies.
Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, destroyers provide combatant commanders in theater and an array of strategic strike options.
These ships join four Navy ballistic missile defense destroyers based in Rota, Spain: USS Ross, USS Roosevelt, USS Porter and USS Arleigh Burke.
Plus, there’s the Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier and its carrier strike group, which deployed in December and recently participated in “Neptune Strike 22” with NATO allies in late January and early February. At the time, Navy leaders were vague about the group’s mission, destination and duration of deployment.
The Truman group includes the destroyers USS Bainbridge, USS Cole, USS Gravely and USS Jason Dunham, as well as the guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto.
USNI News reports that the collection of ships now in the 6th Fleet is the largest gathering of U.S. Navy ships since 2018.
Pentagon leaders have argued that the numerous ship movements are not in response to any actions (or anticipated actions) by Russia regarding the situation in Ukraine.
On that point, Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said on Monday that the United States still hoped for a peaceful resolution.
“We would be happy for the Russians to pursue this path, because we also believe that there still has to be and there can be a diplomatic path,” he said.
Kirby said Russian President Vladimir Putin was adding more military force and capability near the Ukrainian border every day and “could move with little or no warning.”
As for any American response to a Russian invasion, Kirby said, “The United States would react quickly with grave economic consequences.”