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Old 01-06-2021, 09:16 AM
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Arrow Putting Putin in his place: U.S. Navy eyes 'freedom of navigation' patrols off Russia

Putting Putin in his place: U.S. Navy eyes 'freedom of navigation' patrols off Russia's Arctic coast
By: Ben Wolfgang - The Washington Post - 01-06-21
Re: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news...ls-russias-ar/

The Navy is eyeing a tougher posture in the Arctic to push back against Moscow, and top Pentagon officials said this week that the U.S. could launch “freedom of navigation” operations near Russia‘s Arctic coastline.

Such operations would resemble Navy exercises in the South China Sea, an area in which American ships regularly contest growing Chinese territorial claims. Officials believe similar movements may be needed in the Arctic as Russia tries to seize strategically vital sea routes as their own.

“It’s sort of the same situation in the South China Sea that when we look at freedom of navigation operations and the ability to operate in international waters, the United States claims the right to be able to do that,” Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite told the news outlet Breaking Defense on Tuesday.

Mr. Braithwaite‘s comments coincided with the release of a major new Navy report on 21st-century Arctic strategy, which concluded that the Navy must “evaluate and modernize existing and future forces to provide manned and unmanned operational presence and patrol options in cold weather and ice-diminished Arctic waters.”

Melting ice in the Arctic has opened up valuable new commercial routes and offered a major economic and geopolitical opportunity for Russia, which boasts an impressive fleet of icebreakers and other assets capable of operating in the frigid waters.

There are already signs that Russia will use its strategic edge to claim Arctic territory as its own, or to restrict other nations’ access to shipping lanes. The Russian military also has a growing footprint in the region, including bases off its northern coasts.

U.S. military officials say one key method of guaranteeing international access to the region could be Pacific-style navigation missions that extend all the way to Russia‘s Arctic doorstep.

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Personal note: The way both sides are testing the waters I suspect there will be an incident sooner or later. The same applies around North Korea. It will begin when the first shot is fired - and then all hell will break loose. I don't think Russia is itching to take on the US - but North Korea and China are the scary ones who have a death wish!

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