French carrier participates in NATO-commanded drills with Russia in mind

NATO-FRANCE/CARRIER (PIX): A French carrier participates in exercises under NATO leadership with Russia in mind.

Off the coast of southern France, aboard the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle First under alliance leadership for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, N ATO conducted one of its largest naval deployments on Friday, placing the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle under alliance command.

The centerpiece of Neptune Strike is the carrier together with its supporting vessels, referred to as a carrier strike group. NATO claims that these exercises would teach its members how to collaborate more effectively and deter its adversaries.

In the Mediterranean Sea, not far from her home port of Toulon, the French nuclear-powered carrier started its mission.

It is immensely symbolic—not least because the warship bears the name of the former president who removed France from the alliance’s US-led command structure in 1966—that the Charles de Gaulle is now under NATO operational control.

Although France withdrew in 2009, officials claim that with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Paris became even more interested in NATO missions and drills, indicating a belief that a more muscular Moscow made NATO much more essential to French security interests.

The far left and far right in France expressed disapproval of the decision to place the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier under NATO command, claiming it signified a surrender of national sovereignty.

According to French officials, this is a typical aspect of belonging to a multinational military alliance.

The strike group’s commander, Rear Admiral Jacques Mallard, stated that it was consistent with France’s existing strategy of deterring Russia in eastern Europe by putting certain ground and air troops under NATO command.

As the Charles de Gaulle sailed off the southern French coast, Mallard stated, “It’s important because it allows us to remain in the chain of command and to know better the people we could be working with in a crisis.”

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