Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered U.S. warships to remain in the Mediterranean Sea as tensions grow between Ukraine and Russia, according to a new report from The Hill.
“Austin directed the USS Harry Truman carrier strike group to remain in European Command’s area of operations instead of transiting to Central Command’s area of operations — which includes Northeast Africa across the Middle East to South Asia,” The Hill reported.
The change “reflects the need for a persistent presence in Europe and is necessary to reassure our allies and partners of our commitment to collective defense,” the official told the outlet.
Russia claims it does not intend to invade Ukraine, however, earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded the U.S. and its European allies prevent Ukraine from joining NATO as Russia has massed an estimated 175,000 troops near the Ukrainian border in apparent preparation for an invasion.
U.S. and Russian officials are set to meet on January 10 for negotiations, and on January 12 there will be a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.
“The Truman strike group left Naval Station Norfolk, Va., and Mayport, Fla., on Dec. 1 for a regularly scheduled deployment and has been in the Mediterranean Sea. Last week, the group conducted multiple tactical operations and exercises with the Tunisian Navy,” The Hill reported. “The group includes the flagship USS Harry Truman aircraft carrier, as well as the cruiser USS San Jacinto and the guided-missile destroyers USS Bainbridge, USS Cole, USS Gravely, and USS Jason Dunham.”
Report: North Korean ballistic missile fired by Russia into Ukraine contained components sourced from U.S.
A new report from Conflict Armament Research (CAR), a U.K.-based investigative organization, determined that a North Korean ballistic missile which was fired by Russia into Ukraine contained “numerous” electronic components sourced from the U.S. and Europe.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported on the findings, noting approximately 75% of the 290 components analyzed in the missile originated from U.S.-based companies, and an additional 16% of components came from European firms, according to the CAR report.
The electronic components came from 26 countries in total and were largely utilized in the missile’s navigation system, according to the report. It isn’t clear how the components ended up in North Korea’s possession, as the country is strictly sanctioned by a bulk of the international community, but it’s possible other foreign companies, acting as middlemen, bought the components and then diverted them to the communist country.
However, the fact that North Korea was able to acquire so many American electronic component parts suggests “that the country has developed a robust acquisition network capable of circumventing, without detection, sanction regimes that have been in place for nearly two decades,” according to the report.
CAR documents “weapons at the point of use and track their sources back through the chains of supply.”North Korea gathered the components, assembled the missile and shipped it to Russia, all within a relatively short time period, according to the report. The missile was recovered by CAR on Jan. 2, and the investigators determined it could not have been manufactured before March 2023.
A @conflictarm field investigation team recently documented the electronic components of a North Korean ballistic missile recovered in Ukraine on 2 January 2024. CAR investigators documented over 290 components, mostly found in the missile’s navigation system.🧵 (1/6) pic.twitter.com/WxsedC18K6
— CAR (@conflictarm) February 20, 2024
The U.S. government and intelligence agencies are working to stop sensitive American intellectual property from ending up in the hands of several foreign adversaries. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin have strengthened their relationship since Russia first invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
“Due in part to our export and sanction controls, Russia has become increasingly isolated on the world stage, and they’ve been forced to look to like-minded states for military equipment,” White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesman John Kirby said during a press briefing in January. “One of those states is North Korea.”
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