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Russia conducts largest Pacific naval exercise since Cold War

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The Russian Navy is conducting what Russian officials call its largest exercise in the Pacific Ocean since the end of the Cold War. The exercise, about 300-500 miles west of Hawaii, comes just ahead of the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden, their first since Mr. Biden took office in January. 

The exercise includes surface ships, anti-submarine aircraft and long range bombers. 

U.S. defense officials said that on Sunday, the U.S. scrambled F-22s from Hawaii in response to the bomber flights, but the bombers did not enter the Air Defense Identification Zone and were not intercepted.  

At the same time, officials said a U.S. carrier strike group headed by the USS Vinson is operating about 200 miles east of Hawaii, conducting a strike group certification exercise. The exercise had been planned but was moved closer to Hawaii in response to the Russian exercise.

“U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is monitoring the Russian vessels operating in international waters in the Western Pacific,” U.S. Indo-Pacific Command spokesman Captain Mike Kafka told CBS News in a statement.  

“We operate in accordance with international law of the sea and in the air to ensure that all nations can do the same without fear or contest and in order to secure a free and open Indo-Pacific. As Russia operates within the region, it is expected to do so in accordance with international law.”

Earlier this year, Russia built up tens of thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine as a part of what it called an exercise before reducing troops in late April after a month of buildup. The Pentagon called on Russia to be more transparent about troop movements during the buildup. 

After meeting with NATO leaders on Monday, Mr. Biden indicated in a press conference that he will address the transparency of Russia’s behavior in his meeting with Mr. Putin.  

“I shared with our allies that I will convey  to President Putin: That I’m not looking for conflict with Russia, but that we will respond if Russia continues its harmful activities and that we will not fail to defend the Transatlantic Alliance or stand up for democratic values,” Mr. Biden said.  

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