“Prepare for anything”: U.S. aircraft carrier crews train for war with Russia, but aim to deter threats | DayDayNews World News

The crew of a giant U.S. aircraft carrier in European waters said they were ready to fight Russia if called, but their mission was to deter the threat and prevent escalation.

USS George H.W. Bush is helping with testing NATO Ability to defend oneself – a task that became even more real after the Russian war Ukraine.

Over the past few days, F18 jets have been flying from carriers in southern Europe to Lithuania and Poland, near the eastern edge of the alliance with Russia, to fight alongside fighter jets from other allies as well as NATO warships and ground forces.

The commander of the carrier strike group told Sky News his message to Russia was that his men and women were “ready for any mission”.

“We want peace — that’s what everyone wants,” Rear Admiral Dennis Velez said from inside a hangar on the ship that houses more than 70 jets, helicopters and other aircraft.

“We want war [in Ukraine] End and bring stability to the region and have a peaceful and stable Europe – but for us, we are ready. “

Asked if that meant he was ready to go to war if necessary, the admiral said: “This ship, this strike group, our allies: we are ready for anything. We are ready for anything. It’s proven every day.”

At least two Russian warships watched the action from a safe distance as part of a series of NATO events, as did Russian aircraft.

“We’ve seen them,” Rear Admiral Velez said Tuesday as the strike group of aircraft carriers and escorts sailed through the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Italy.

US aircraft carrier

As for what to say to the Russians, he replied: “Nothing… They have the same rights to operate in international waters as we do, so we just follow international law and the rules of the road.”

The proximity of Russian troops and the knowledge that Russian troops are locked in a brutal war with Ukraine – which is not part of NATO but shares borders with coalition members – means that doing business in Europe is no longer just another peacetime training exercise More than 5,000 sailors aboard the carrier American sailor.

“It was a real change,” said Lieutenant Cordan Mackenzie, 27, one of the F18 pilots on board. Her callsign is “Big Poppa”.

“Most of the time what we’re doing, it feels like training, it feels like a game, but you come here and have intelligence [intelligence] The briefing was with you on missions with NATO allies that really solidified the authenticity of what we do in the world and the importance of our mission set: being in the Adriatic and getting America to work with our NATO allies Working together to ensure the world knows we remain a force to be reckoned with. “

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‘Dirty bomb’ claim ‘not unfounded’

If tensions escalate significantly, she and her fellow pilots face the possibility of one day being ordered into air-to-air combat with the Russians.

It’s a move that American, British and other Western pilots don’t have to consider when they’re not confronting rival air forces in Afghanistan’s long war.

“It’s daunting,” Lt. McKenzie said.

“That’s one thing you have to rely on training. There’s no question that I think the U.S.-trained Navy pilots are the best in the world… What we’re doing here is training and getting ready to fight and that’s probably going to be Coming, I think when it comes, pilot to pilot, I hope we’re better people in the box.”

The carrier is participating in a relatively new series of NATO events called “Neptune,” which allows allies to test faster, more nimble, and more vigorously, unlike the longer-planned and more predictable annual exercises their sea, air and land capabilities.

US aircraft carrier

This is to improve their ability to deter Russia – a task the allies are more focused on after Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Sky News during a visit to the carrier: “We have stepped up our preparedness, our preparedness and the way we work together across the alliance to prevent and defending every inch of NATO territory.”

For example, he said it was also the third time a U.S. aircraft carrier formation has been under NATO command since the end of the Cold War, and all three occasions were part of Exercise Neptune over the past year.

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‘Dirty bomb’ claim ‘not unfounded’

NATO secretary general also expresses new concerns about Ukraine Russia lied about Ukrainians planning to use radioactive ‘dirty bombs’ on its own territory. The claim could be part of a “false flag” plot by Moscow to carry out such attacks and blame Kyiv.

read more:
What is a “dirty bomb”? Is Russia Planning to Blow Up the New Kakhovka Dam?

“Russia is blaming others for what they intend to do themselves, so we need to pay close attention to what Russia is doing now. They have to know that using dirty or radioactive bombs is a serious escalation,” Mr Stoltenberg said.

When asked how NATO would respond to such an attack, he said: “It would be a very serious escalation.”

Allies also fear that Vladimir Putin may even resort to nuclear strikes if his forces, backed by Western weapons, are defeated by Ukrainian forces.

“The possibility of the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine remains low, and the consequences are so devastating, so enormous, that this is a risk we must take seriously,” the NATO chief said.

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