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Unlike submarines, which regularly sail the Arctic, American ships had not operated in the Barents Sea since the Cold War.
Four United States warships entered the Barents Sea on Monday for the first time in decades, as part of maritime security operations aimed at ensuring free navigation in the Arctic Circle.
The destroyers USS Donald Cook, USS Porter and USS Roosevelt, and the fast support ship USNS Supply, were joined on Monday by the British HMS Kent.
These surface ships, unlike submarines that regularly transit Arctic waters, had not operated in the Barents Sea since the mid-1980s, when the Cold War.
“In these difficult times it is more important than ever that we maintain our rhythm of operations in the European theater,” said Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti, commander of the United States’ Sixth Fleet.
He added that the operation is critical to reinforcing a combat readiness base in the Arctic, where inclement weather is severe for ships.
The Russian Defense Ministry was notified on Friday of the visit to the Barents Sea,” in an effort to avoid misunderstandings, reduce risk and prevent inadvertent escalation,” a statement from the Sixth Fleet reported.
NATO’s supreme commander in Europe, General Tod Wolters, said in Congress in February that the Arctic remains “of great concern” to the alliance, as Russia and China have expanded their military activity in that area.
According to Wolters, the United States needed to focus on the Arctic as well as the Baltic and the rest of the world.
NATO maneuvers in the Arctic began in March, but were cancelled before ending due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Source: voa noticias