11 Apr 2017

‘Russian navy more active than during Cold War’ says top NATO officer

THE head of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command has claimed that Russia’s naval fleet is currently more active than at any time during the Cold War.

Navy Admiral Michelle Howard raised concerns that the distributed nature of the deployments could end up “splitting and distracting” NATO.

Howard, who heads NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command and commands U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa told Reuters: “We’re seeing activity that we didn’t even see when it was the Soviet Union. It’s precedential activity.

“They’re a global navy, I understand that. But the activity in this theatre has substantially moved up in the last couple of years.”

Howard cited Russia’s deployment of its Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier to the Mediterranean, increased patrols in the north Atlantic and Arctic region, significant out-of-area submarine deployments, and submarine movement in the Black Sea.

She claimed there was a risk that NATO members NATO could concentrate on the area of interest closest to them, while losing sight of Russian activities in other areas.

Howard said: “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.”

In February, Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, stated for the first time the scale of its cyber warfare, making it a military priority following the 2008 conflict with Georgia.

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