With a large naval exercise underway, it only makes sense that the U.S. Navy would want to focus on the training and exercises and not much else for the time being. However, out in the Baltic Sea, that seems to be very impossible to do since Russia has sent two of its spy ships to shadow the U.S. fleet and its NATO allies sine they left port for the exercise.
Russia has expressed displeasure at all the military exercises that are taking place in proximity to its sovereign borders. Earlier this month, the U.S. military has joined Polish troops as well as forces from Albania, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom for an exercise known as Anakonda 2016. In response, Russia was seen beefing up its forces along the Western front. A makeshift army camp had also been spotted along with some newly arrived troops and military vehicles.
As of the moment, the exercise known as BALTOPS 2016 is said to have already entered its third and final phase of “serialized training operations.” BALTOPS is a multinational maritime exercise that involves the U.S., Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The exercise includes in-port and at-sea training events as well as combat enhancement training and force integration training.
According to a report from Fox News, U.S. Navy Vice Admiral James G. Foggo III admits they and their NATO allies haven’t been alone since they left port in Tallinn, Estonia last June 5. “What we have seen is shadowing by two Russian intelligence vessels,” he explains. So far, he says the Russian ships have been quite “well behaved.” However, Fogg also admits that the said ships have refused to communicate with the U.S. Navy even if their distance with each other came to as close as a mile at times.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Navy said that several Russian aircraft made ” unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight maneuvers” while the USS Donald Cook was in the middle of conducting deck landing drills with an allied military helicopter in the Baltic Sea. During that incident, Russia also refused to give any response when the U.S. tried to communicate with them.