A US Navy assault ship takes part in training in the Baltic Sea

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By MICHAL DYJUK and RAFAL NIEDZIELSKI, Associated Press

ABOARD USS KEARSARGE (AP) — The U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge is participating in international training in the Baltic Sea amid Russia’s war in Ukraine and tensions in the region.

The Kearsarge is the first Wasp-class ship to participate in international training in the Baltic in at least two decades. Associated Press reporters toured the ship last week.

“This is a first for us in recent memory and it has been very exciting,” said Captain Tom Foster, Kearsarge’s Commanding Officer.

Along with other US Navy ships, the Kearsarge has been training for several months with the Swedish and Finnish armies, which formally applied to join NATO after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

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The formation’s mission is to promote safety and security in the region.

“Over the past few months we have operated in the Baltics and the Mediterranean,” said Captain Aaron Kelley, commander of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group.

“We will continue to operate in these areas. And always the goal is to promote safety and security in these areas and in international waters,” Kelley said.

The USS Kearsarge allows training by aircraft such as AV-8B Harriers, UH-1 Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper helicopters as well as MV-22 Osprey aircraft.

The Baltic Sea countries are Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Denmark.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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