'Russia More Active in Europe Than During Cold War' - Top US and NATO Officer

'Russia More Active in Europe Than During Cold War' - Top US and NATO Officer

Russia is more active with its naval operations in Europe than during the Cold War, according to a senior US and NATO military officer. The statement comes amid NATO’s ongoing buildup in Europe.

Navy Admiral Michelle Howard, who heads NATO's Allied Joint Force Command in Naples and commands US naval forces in Europe and Africa, claimed that the current Russian deployments are unheard-of.

"We're seeing activity that we didn't even see when it was the Soviet Union. It's precedential activity," Howard told Reuters.

Among alleged Russian naval activities are the deployment of its ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ aircraft carrier to the Mediterranean, stepped-up patrols in the North Atlantic and Arctic region, increased submarine deployments, and submarine activities in the Black Sea.

"They’re a global navy, I understand that. But the activity in this theater has substantially moved up in the last couple of years," Howard said.

The top US officer also believes that the alleged activities mean a shift in focus for the alliance.

“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.”

The officer’s interview with Reuters came just days after the US fired nearly 60 Tomahawk missiles at the Syria’s Shayrat airbase.

Howard’s comments also come amid the backdrop of a NATO buildup in Poland. Earlier this month, a US-led battle group of 1,350 soldiers for NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Eastern Europe arrived at its base near Orzysz, northeastern Poland.

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