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Aug 20, 2022
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“This is just the beginning.” US Marine Corps ship arrives in Lithuania to put pressure on Russia

The flagship of the US Marine Corps Expeditionary Force USS Kearsarge has arrived in the port of Klaipeda. According to the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense, this is the largest military vessel that has ever moored in the republic.

The official welcoming ceremony for an aircraft carrier commanded by a captain Thomas Fosterwill take place on Monday, August 22. He will be greeted by the Minister of Defense Arvydas Anusauskas and Commander of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupshis.

“The visit of the flagship of the US Marine Corps demonstrates the solidarity and unity of NATO allies,” the Lithuanian ministry said in a statement.

USS Kearsarge, laid down in 1990, is the fifth American Wasp-class aircraft carrier (“Wasp”). It was launched in 1993 and is one of the largest US warships: its length is 257.3 m and its width reaches 60.1 m. The crew of the vessel exceeds 2 thousand people.

The aircraft carrier is equipped with standard Wasp-class weapons: NATO RIM-7 Sea Sparrow point defense system, RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles, 25-mm cannons, and Phalanx close combat system to counter threats from low-flying aircraft .

At the same time, the main purpose of USS Kearsarge is to land marines on an unequipped coast. In addition, the Wasp-class ship is designed to support the landing with deck-launched vertical take-off aircraft and is capable of carrying up to 26 combat helicopters.

Since May of this year, the USS Kearsarge has been in the Baltic Sea, and in early June arrived in Sweden to take part in the NATO naval exercises Baltops 2022. Then on board were units of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Battalion, including 2.4 thousand .person, amphibious transport dock USS Gunston Hall and missile destroyer USS Gravely.

On August 17, an American ship was spotted in the waters of the Gulf of Finland. The purpose of his appearance remained unknown, but the Avia.pro portal suggested that it could be about the “demonstrative presence of the United States” in this region.

“Given that there is enough space on board the landing ship to transport various types of weapons, experts do not exclude that the ship could deliver American military equipment and military personnel to Finland, however, at the moment it has not been possible to confirm this with any facts,” it was said. in the article.

A similar point of view is shared by an expert of the Association of Military Political Scientists, Head of the Department of Political Science and Sociology of the Russian University of Economics. G. V. Plekhanova Andrey Koshkin. He recalled that recently the United States and its NATO allies have been quite actively promoting Finland and Sweden to the Alliance, since they are interested in placing their infrastructure on the territory of these countries.

As the President of the Russian Federation noted earlier Vladimir Putinthe mere entry of Helsinki and Stockholm into the organization does not pose an immediate threat to Russia, but if NATO military equipment is located there, this will “cause a response” from Moscow. He also added that the actions of the Scandinavian states can aggravate “an already difficult situation in the field of international security.”

“NATO is well aware that only statements about joining [в НАТО — прим. ред.] You can’t scare Russia, you need actions that would indicate military-political pressure on the Russian Federation. Consequently, this kind of visits by warships, in particular, the United States, into the Baltic Sea are aimed at this pressure and, most likely, this is just the beginning, ”Koshkin suggested in an interview with Politika Segodnya.

According to the expert, in the future, NATO will continue to promote its infrastructure in the direction of Finland – Sweden, because it is this platform that the countries of the Alliance still need to master well in order to fight for the Arctic latitudes. However, if necessary, Russia will be able to stop such provocations, Koshkin added.

“Actions of this kind are monitored by the RF Armed Forces, are taken into account in military development and are included in the package of actions that will be neutralized as a threat in the event of an aggravation of the situation or provocations in this direction against Russia,” the PS interlocutor concluded.

Recently, the Russian Defense Ministry relocated three MiG-31 aircraft with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles to the Chkalovsk airfield in the Kaliningrad region as part of additional strategic deterrence measures. As clarified in the department, the aircraft will be on round-the-clock duty there.

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