Escalation? Russian Is Conducting 'War Games' Off Of Hawaii

Written By BlabberBuzz | Friday, 18 June 2021 01:30

U.S. military scrambled fighter jets in reply to the Russian Navy carrying what Moscow officials proclaimed as its largest exercise in the Pacific Ocean since the end of the Cold War.

The exercise, which appears just as President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet face-to-face in a much-anticipated summit, was carried roughly 300-500 miles west of Hawaii and included surface ships, anti-submarine aircraft, and long range bombers, according to CBS News.

U.S. defense officials announced that F-22s did not intercept any Russian aircraft, which did not enter the Air Defense Identification Zone, according to the report.

A U.S. carrier strike group, directed by the USS Vinson and conducting a preplanned strike group certification exercise roughly 200 miles east of Hawaii, was pushed closer to Hawaii in response to the Russian action, according to CBS News.

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"U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is monitoring the Russian vessels operating in international waters in the Western Pacific," U.S. Indo-Pacific Command spokesman Captain Mike Kafka told CBS News in a statement.

"We operate in accordance with international law of the sea and in the air to ensure that all nations can do the same without fear or contest and in order to secure a free and open Indo-Pacific. As Russia operates within the region, it is expected to do so in accordance with international law."

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The Honolulu Star Advertiser reported officials Monday would not reveal why three missile-armed Hawaii Air National Guard F-22 fighters were scrambled Sunday afternoon for an "irregular air patrol" asked for by the Federal Aviation Administration.

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"The 154th Fighter Wing launched two F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at approximately 4 p.m.," Pacific Air Forces announced in an email to the Star-Advertiser. "A third was launched at approximately 5 p.m."

The Star-Advertiser continued that the Hickam-based Air Force command stated that the FAA asked that U.S. Indo-Pacific Command "conducted an irregular air patrol and the situation resolved, prompting the fighters and a KC-135 Stratotanker [refueling plane] to return to base. We cannot discuss further specifics of the situation."

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TASS, the Russian news agency, announced that "the drills involve up to 20 surface combatants, submarines and support vessels," and "involve up to 20 aircraft," according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

"The Pacific Fleet’s ships and vessels have completed their deployment in the area of an operational exercise and have started accomplishing tasks today under the scenario of tactical maneuvers as part of the Pacific Fleet’s distant maritime zone taskforce," Commander of the Pacific Fleet’s Primorye Flotilla of All-Arms Forces Rear Admiral Konstantin Kabantsov was quoted in TASS.

Biden and Putin were set to meet Wednesday in Geneva. It's their first meeting since Biden took office.

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