The US military responded this week to what it calls Russia’s “unlawful and destabilizing actions” in Ukraine and elsewhere by pushing back against Moscow on the seas and in the air.
In the second US military operation in as many days, a US Air Force OC-135 observation aircraft conducted an “extraordinary flight” Thursday under the Open Skies Treaty “to reaffirm US commitment to Ukraine,” the Pentagon said.
The flight came the day after the US Navy had sailed the guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell near the Peter the Great Bay in the Sea of Japan, a move that irked Russia, which maintains a territorial claim on the disputed waters that is not acknowledged by the US.
US has begun making the necessary preparations to sail a warship into the Black Sea as a possible response to Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian ships and sailors following a clash in the Kerch Strait.
The Pentagon is “signaling a counter to the latest series of Russian actions and provocations that ramped up tensions in the region yet again,” Peter Singer, a strategist and senior fellow at the think tank New America.
“Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait is a dangerous escalation in a pattern of increasingly provocative and threatening activity,” Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon said.
“The United States seeks a better relationship with Russia, but this cannot happen while its unlawful and destabilizing actions continue in Ukraine and elsewhere,” he said.