US and allies hold naval drills as Russian activity increases in Mediterranean
Stars and Stripes February 27, 2023
The U.S. and its allies launched large-scale naval drills Monday in the Mediterranean Sea, where Russian warships have been transiting in increasingly high numbers.
The Dynamic Manta drill, which brings together ships, submarines and aircraft, is being held off the Sicilian coast, NATO’s Maritime Command said in a statement.
Anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare tactics are the focus of the exercise, which involves units rehearsing how to hunt down and evade enemy forces.
“The submarines will take turns hunting and being hunted, closely coordinating their efforts with the air and surface participants,” the command said.
The exercise, which includes nine different countries, comes amid what some allies have said is an uptick in Russian activity in the Mediterranean.
Italy’s top Navy officer, Adm. Enrico Credendino, said last week that Russian military vessels are transiting the Mediterranean at a higher rate than even during the Cold War.
The influx, linked to the war in Ukraine, has raised added concerns about potential military miscalculations.
"The risk of an incident is possible, and when there is an incident of this nature, you never know where you might end up,” Credendino told the Italian news agency Ansa.
NATO made no reference to Russian forces in its announcement about maritime exercises in the Mediterranean this week.
U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Stephen Mack said Dynamic Mantra is intended to showcase the “strategic defense of the alliance” by countering multiple threats.