NEWS | April 22, 2019

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Visits U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and U.S. 6th Fleet

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., met with senior U.S. Navy leaders at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, to discuss the maritime environment in Europe, April 22, 2019.

Huntsman met with Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (CNE-A) and Allied Joint Force Command Naples; Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet (C6F), and other senior navy leaders.

During the meeting, U.S. military relations with Russia and the security environment throughout Europe were discussed. The conversations focused on ways to achieve cooperation with Russia but also how the U.S. Navy is working with allies and partners to deter Russian aggression and reaffirm its commitment to the region.

“We seek a better relationship with Russia, but that can only happen when Russia stops its aggressive behavior and creates space for productive dialogue,” said Huntsman. “We will continue to impose cost on Russia when it takes actions aimed at our partners and allies and U.S. national security interests. At the same time, we remain committed to dialogue to deescalate situations and find areas where we can work together.”

As great power competitors threaten the global commons, U.S. forward-deployed presence is meant to deter and if necessary defeat those challenges, protect the American homeland, and protect economic prosperity by keeping the arteries of commerce open on the world’s oceans.

“For more than two centuries, the U.S. Navy has operated forward to preserve peace, protect national interests, and defend allies and partners,” said Foggo. “It’s crucial that we give our civilian leaders options and the ability to negotiate from a position of strategic strength.”

Over the past few years, Russia has sought to change borders by force, and has undertaken a significant military build-up in the North Atlantic, Arctic, Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Russia’s continued aggression in Georgia, Ukraine, the Sea of Azov, and Kaliningrad as well as its intervention in Syria, Libya and Venezuela destabilize these areas.

“Our deployments and military presence is to deter and defend. It is to prevent – not provoke – a conflict,” Foggo said. “Our presence in Europe and the relationships built over the past 70 years provide the U.S. strategic access critical to respond to any threats against our allies and partners.”

CNE-A/C6F, headquartered in Naples, oversees joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to enable enduring relationships and increase vigilance and resilience in Europe and Africa.