Nearly a dozen Chinese and Russian military vessels moved close enough to Alaska sometime last week that the Biden Administration was forced to send four U.S. warships into the region in response, according to the state’s two U.S. Senators.
In a joint statement issued by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, the Republicans say they received “detailed classified briefings” on the matter from U.S. military personnel.
“We have been in close contact with leadership from Alaska Command for several days now,” Murkowski said Saturday.
The foreign ships, apparently involved in joint military maneuvers, were spotted near U.S. territorial waters around the Aleutian Islands, hundreds of miles off the state’s south-west mainland coast.
The U.S. Navy dispatched four destroyer class ships to the island chain in response, according to Sullivan.
“The incursion by 11 Chinese and Russian warships operating together – off the coast of Alaska – is yet another reminder that we have entered a new era of authoritarian aggression led by the dictators in Beijing and Moscow,” the senator said.
The DoD and U.S. Northern Command declined to provide additional details Monday morning.
According to U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, the Biden Administration’s response was both measured and appropriate considering the state of global affairs, not to mention the fact that Alaska is literally on the “front lines” of any potential conflict between the military powers.
“The Russian and Chinese maneuvers with their ships, near Alaska but not in American territory, has elicited a response from the Biden Administration of the deployment of four of our ships just to send a message that we are not going to allow for incursions into the territory of the United States,” Markey said in Lowell on Monday. “While they are sending a signal, I think President Biden sent a very strong signal back towards the Chinese and Russian military.”
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, also speaking in Lowell Monday, said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed the world’s understanding of the global order, rearranging trade partnerships in heretofore unpredicted ways, but that one constant since the war in Europe started has been Biden’s leadership on the global stage.
“I want to underline that President Biden has been a steady hand as leader throughout this crisis,” she said. “He has responded appropriately to the ships off the Alaska coast, always reminding the world that we are here, that we work in partnership with other democracies and that we abide by the rule of law, not just domestically, but internationally.”
Russia’s unlawful and entirely unprovoked invasion of their democratic neighbor has strained an already tense U.S. relationship with the Kremlin just as concerns over the invasion of Taiwan by the Chinese Government have cooled relations with Beijing.
The White House has broadcast wide support for Ukraine and provided billions in military aid while simultaneously maintaining the U.S. government’s long held policy of “strategic ambiguity” when it comes to China and democratic Taiwan, where the mass of the world’s semiconductors are produced.