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Russia Launches Biggest Pacific Exercise Since Cold War As Putin And Biden Meet

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

On the other side of the world, President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin are meeting for their first face-to-face talks since Biden ascended to the American presidency. But 300 miles off the coast of Hawaii, Russia is quietly launching one of the largest naval exercises since the Cold War.

Russian ships have been dispatched to conduct the largest military exercises since the Cold War off the coast of Hawaii, sending the US Air Force scrambling  F-22 stealth fighters from its base in Hawaii just hours before the two world leaders were set to meet. They were sent to meet a contingent of assets that included long-range bombers, surface ships and anti-submarine aircraft on the mission.

Though the provocation was unmistakable, Russian bombers were careful not to enter the Air Defense Identification Zone, which could have prompted the US Air Force to scramble interceptors.

Photos from the exercises were released by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Ironically, Biden appeared to walk back some of his more aggressive criticisms of his Russian counterpart, calling Putin "bright," "tough" and "a worthy adversary."

Putin has been flexing his military muscle around the world in recent months, though mostly closer to Russia's shores. Forces have massed on the border with Ukraine, raising anxieties about a Russian escalation in the still-smouldering Ukrainian civil war, which prompted Biden to call a national emergency before slapping sanctions on dozens of Russians and expelling diplomats. But we can't help but notice the similarities between Wednesday's exercise, and the "Freedom of Navigation" operations that the US Navy used to run against China in the Pacific.

Meanwhile, back in New York, the American media is doubling down on its criticisms of Putin, as NYT columnist Thomas Friedman, a longtime Russia hawk (and friend of the Saudi Royal Family) essentially read off the talking points from a February editorial, while cracking jokes about "mistresses", during an interview with his NYT colleague, Andrew Ross Sorkin.

With Putin still clearly seething over Biden's recent heavy-handed provocations, it's clear that today's naval exercise – the biggest naval exercise in the Pacific since the end of the Cold War – is intended to "rub salt in the wounds" of the Americans, while proving that America and China aren't the only global powers who can operate on multiple fronts.


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