US admiral says Russian activity in the Mediterranean and other European seas is higher than at any time during the Cold War – and warns NATO not to be ‘split and distracted’ by Putin’s schemes

Sunday, April 9, 2017
By Paul Martin

Admiral Michelle Howard, a NATO and US leader, made the statement Saturday
She pointed to Russian ships in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Arctic regions
NATO members may lose the big picture if they focus on local threat, she said
She urged them to work together to keep tabs on an increasingly strident Russia

9 April 2017

There is now more Russian naval activity in Europe than at any point in the Cold War, a top US and NATO military officer has warned.

Navy Admiral Michelle Howard, who heads NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples and commands US forces in Europe and Africa, said Russia’s strident maneuvers could leave the West at a disadvantage.

She warned that when ‘you think about what happens when they move forces around, you look at the alliance and they end up splitting and distracting the view of the alliance.’

‘We’re seeing activity that we didn’t even see when it was the Soviet Union. It’s precedential activity,’ Howard said during a missile defense conference on Saturday.

‘They´re a global navy, I understand that. But the activity in this theater has substantially moved up in the last couple of years.’
At the start of the year Russia’s sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, was deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. It has since returned to Russia for a planned two-year refurbishment.

But on Friday Russia deployed its Admiral Grigorovich frigate to the sea to stand guard over the Tartus Port, from which the USS Porter and Ross launched an air strike on a Syrian airbase.

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