The United States Navy does not seek conflict with Russia amid its deployment of naval forces in the Mediterranean, but it is prepared to defend its interests in the region, US Naval Forces in Europe and Africa Commander Admiral James Foggo III told Sputnik on Thursday.
“Our maritime forces are ready and prepared to defend. We do not, however, seek conflict with other forces operating in the area,” Foggo said.
The US works with its allies and partners to deter war and maintain the rules to guarantee open international order, Foggo said. US strategic access in the area is critical to responding to threats against its allies and partners in the region, he added.
The US commander’s remarks came in response to Russian President Vladmir Putin’s announcement on Wednesday that ship vessels carrying Russia’s Kalibr cruise missiles would be constantly deployed in the Mediterranean Sea amid the threat of incursions by terrorists in Syria.
The Mediterranean mission by the Russian frigate Admiral Essen equipped with Kalibr-NK cruise missiles began on March 13. During last year’s mission, the warship launched cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea at the positions of Daesh* militants in Syria.