US Warships to remain in the Mediterranean as Ukraine-Russia tensions escalate

 

There has still been no breakthrough in talks between the U.S. and Russia. Russia has continued to build up troops at its border with Ukraine and also conducted naval exercises in the Baltic Sea. The U.S. has asked a group of its naval ships to remain in the Mediterranean. Although the ships were initially deployed as routine naval exercises, the Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has asked the fleet to maintain their positions, according to multiple sources.

On Monday, during a news briefing, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that 8,500 troops have been placed on “heightened alert” by Defense Secretary Austin, to aid NATO allies. He said that there were no orders for deployment. He emphasized that the troops were “on higher alert only.”

On Monday afternoon Biden took part in an almost 90 minute video conference with European leaders some of whom included

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
French President Emmanuel Macron
Polish President Andrzej Duda.

After the video conference, President Biden described the meeting to reporters as “very, very, very good.” He also said that there had been “total unanimity with all the European leaders.”

In a statement the White House said that Biden and the European leaders were concerned with the build-up of Russian military at the Ukraine border. It also said that they had a shared desire for a “diplomatic resolution.” They also discussed “joint efforts” to prevent further aggression by Russia against Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly claimed that it has no intentions of invading Ukraine. However, it has stationed massive troops that are numbered to be anywhere between 100,000 to 175,000 according to reports from different outlets.

Earlier in the month, President Joe Biden spoke to President Vladimir Putin in a virtual meeting. Biden reiterated that the U.S. and its European allies would place “strong economic measures” on Russia if there was a further incursion into Ukraine.


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