US War Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier strike group to stay in the region and hold off on its scheduled onward voyage to the Middle East.
The “schedule change reflects the need for a persistent presence in Europe, and is necessary to reassure our allies and partners of our commitment to collective defense,” a military official said.
The move comes despite an agreement by the United States and Russia to hold talks on January 10 on Geneva on tensions including over Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden's administration has insisted on working in lockstep with European allies, with NATO representatives also slated to meet with Russia.
The Harry S. Truman carrier group set sail on December 1 from its base in Norfolk, Virginia on a regularly scheduled deployment.
Last week it conducted joint exercises with the Tunisian military before sailing east.