BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:45 P.M.) – Several loud explosions could be heard inside the Syrian coastal governorate of Tartous, today, as the Russian Navy conducted large-scale drills in the eastern Mediterranean.
According to a source in Tartous, the Russian Navy was conducting drills with the Syrian military, adding that they were not concerned with the presence of two U.S. aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean waters.
Earlier this week, two U.S. aircraft carriers, with U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman onboard, entered the Mediterranean as a show of force against the Russians.
“When you have 200,000 tons of diplomacy that is cruising in the Mediterranean – this is what I call diplomacy, this is forward operating diplomacy – nothing else needs to be said,” Huntsman told CNN.
Huntsman is onboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, which is making its first ever trip to the Mediterranean Sea.
The U.S. Ambassador is allegedly trying to send a message to the Russians over their behavior, as their interventions in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, and Venezuela has upset Washington.
While Moscow has long criticized the US military build-up near its borders as a hostile move further straining the rocky relationship between the two countries, Huntsman argued that such military maneuvers are somehow a necessary prerequisite for easing tensions with Moscow.
“You have all the confidence you need to sit down and try to find solutions to the problems that have divided us now for many, many years,” he said.
Each US carrier strike group comprises several vessels led by the carriers and dozens of aircraft. A total of 10 ships, 130 aircraft, and 9,000 sailors and marines are taking part in the drills.