US Warships Ordered to Stay in Mediterranean

US Warships Ordered to Stay in Mediterranean

( – The Pentagon has reacted to rising tensions in eastern Europe, building up conventional forces in an attempt to deter a Russian invasion of Ukraine. The move adds some teeth to President Biden’s firm rhetoric – but will Russia’s strongman leader take it seriously?

Over the last few weeks, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has redeployed at least 100,000 troops – including heavy armored formations – close to his country’s border with Ukraine. On January 2, Biden promised the US and its allies would take “decisive” action if Russian forces cross the border, but it isn’t 1985 anymore; the US doesn’t have powerful forces in Europe to resist an invasion.

Now, to sway the balance, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has ordered a US Navy battle group, which was transiting the Mediterranean on its way to the Persian Gulf, to remain in the eastern Mediterranean. The group, centered around the Nimitz-class carrier USS Harry S Truman, spent New Year’s at a Greek navy base in Souda Bay, Crete, and was scheduled to sail again on January 3. Now, it’ll take up station between Greece and Italy, from where its 48 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets could strike at Russian forces around the Black Sea.

With a US Navy cruiser and four destroyers, plus a Royal Norwegian Navy frigate providing anti-submarine defense, the Truman battle group is a powerful force – but will it matter?

Last month, Biden told the Russians they face economic sanctions in response to an invasion, but sending US troops isn’t on the table. Putin may have taken the same message from that as our appalled NATO allies did; this is a weak administration that will posture, but then fold.

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