Naval exercise on hold due to Ukraine tensions

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Associated Press

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 13 at 11:07 AM

STOCKHOLM (AP) — A naval exercise in the Barents Sea involving Norway, the U.S. and Russia is expected to be canceled because of action that Washington is taking against Russia regarding Ukraine.

The biannual Northern Eagle exercise is scheduled to take place in May.

But Norwegian Defense Department spokeswoman Marita Isaksen Wangberg said Thursday the drill "probably won't go ahead as planned" after the Pentagon froze joint exercises with Russia because of the Ukraine crisis.

In an email to The Associated Press, she said that also means a planning conference ahead of the drill has been canceled until further notice.

U.S. and Russian warships have been conducting the exercise since 2004 and Norway joined it in 2008.

The U.S. has criticized Moscow for backing a referendum Sunday about making Crimea, Ukraine, independent.

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