Legislators call for showdown with Russia at sea
American sailors should be prepared to take on Russia and show their strength as the country goes “head to head” with Moscow amid fears of a possible invasion of Ukraine, two US legislators have demanded.
Senator Richard Blumenthal and Representative Joe Courtney, both Democrats from Connecticut, said that the Navy will play a major role in any future confrontation with Russia. The pair were speaking as part of an appearance on Monday at a virtual event hosted by General Dynamics Electric Boat, the largest submarine builder in the country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin “will test us in every single place that he can,” Blumenthal said. “He’s doing it right now in Ukraine: he wants to restore the hegemony over countries that formerly were part of the Soviet Union; bring back Ukraine into Mother Russia; conduct a hybrid war of military actions, cyber-attack and misinformation. And part of his overall strategy is to bolster undersea warfare and thereby push the United States, try to divide allies, and create instability.”
Blumenthal said that he agreed with President Joe Biden that the US should not send soldiers to fight in Ukraine, but insisted that increasing NATO capabilities in the region would be an important part of showing strength “around the world in other areas where we go head-to-head with the Russians.”
In particular, he pointed to the role submarines can play in confronting Moscow. “Undersea warfare – because we’re talking about the Mediterranean, about the Black Sea as potential areas of tension and conflict – is very much in play even though it isn’t directly involved in the confrontation in the Eastern Ukraine area or Crimea or in the northern borders of Ukraine, which represent perhaps the greatest immediate threat in Belarus, where Putin is amassing forces right now.”
Russia announced last week that it would be holding naval drills in several locations around the world, and Moscow has also been sending troops to Belarus for joint military exercises. Officials in Washington and Kiev have been warning for months that they fear Russia could be planning an imminent invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.
On Monday, Alexey Danilov, Secretary of Kiev’s National Security Council, said that the threat of Russian aggression had been overhyped, calling it “panic” fomented for “geopolitical and domestic” reasons in the West. “The buildup of Russian troops isn’t as rapid as some claim,” he insisted, adding that the risk of escalation still remains.