The United States has pulled the USS Theodore Roosevelt – a massive, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier – out of the Persian Gulf as Russian warships have entered the area.
For the first time since 2007, the US Navy has now no aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, according to NBC News.
The warship was withdrawn from the Persian Gulf on Thursday, a day after Russia fired 26 long-range cruise missiles from its Caspian Flotilla against terrorists in Syria, Pentagon officials said.
US military officials claimed that the aircraft carrier, which houses about 5,000 sailors and 65 fighter jets, was withdrawn because it needed to undergo maintenance.
Tensions between the United States and Russia escalated after Moscow began its military campaign on September 30 against Daesh (ISIL) terrorists wreaking havoc in Syria.
Russia has carried out more than 110 airstrikes against terrorists in Syria so far, killing hundreds of militants.
The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that the United States had adopted measures to ensure a safe distance from Russian fighter jets flying over Syria.
Republican Senator John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on Thursday that Washington should “just leave” Syria “if all of your [US] actions are dictated by the risk of confrontation with Russia.”
Peter Daly, a retired Navy vice admiral, noted that the absence of a US aircraft carrier is being noticed by Russians.
“The most important thing you need a carrier for is for what you don’t know is going to happen next,” Daly told NBC News.
Three unnamed US military officials claimed on Thursday that some cruise missiles fired from Russian ships at targets in Syria landed in Iran.
The officials stated that four Russian cruise missiles went off course and crashed in Iran, adding that they don’t know if the errant missiles caused any damage.
In response, the Russian Defense Ministry statement said that the new Kalibr-NK cruise missiles all struck within nine feet of their intended targets in Syria.
“No matter how unpleasant and unexpected it is for our colleagues in the Pentagon and Langley, our strike yesterday with precision-guided weapons at ISIS (Daesh/ISIL) infrastructure in Syria hit its targets,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.