The US is seeking domination over the Mediterranean Sea as tensions with Moscow mount. NATO and Russia have built-up their forces in the region to the most significant level in a generation.
Thibault Lavernhe, regional communication officer of the French army in the Mediterranean, said, "Ukraine has changed things. The Americans are back. This hasn’t been the case since the Cold War."
He added, "Russia has doubled, if not tripled, its military capacity in the area."
The French military official estimates Russia has 20 ships in the Mediterranean. Lavernhe says the US has moved warships from the Atlantic Ocean to double its presence in the sea.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine, NATO was operating with three aircraft carrier strike groups in the region. Three weeks ago, the US extended the deployment of the USS Truman aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean.
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said last month that Truman’s current role could allow it to be used as a weapon for another nation.
"The role of Truman, with other allies, is to deter Russians from further aggression and to be on constant standby for orders that might be given from our president or from other leaders around the world for the protection of Ukraine and the people of Ukraine."
In addition to the massive naval presence, NATO has stepped up its intelligence gathering. The French Atlantique 2 spy planes are deployed to Crete to surveil the sea.
3⃣allied aircraft carrier strike groups allowed us the ability to conduct a series of tactical missions designed to maximize air defense capabilities and extended the reach of long range precision maritime strikes in a rapidly evolving theater. #NATO #WeAreNATO #GiveEmHell pic.twitter.com/8GEHgk36qt— USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) (@USSHARRYSTRUMAN) March 18, 2022
A NATO military officer speaking with AFP said the purpose of the deployment is "to show the Russians that the eastern Mediterranean is a NATO area."