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US aircraft carrier arrives in NATO-member Norway

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A U.S. aircraft carrier arrived Wednesday in Oslo with the Norwegian armed forces saying it gives them “a unique opportunity to further develop cooperation and work more closely with our most important ally, the United States.”

The nuclear-powered ship USS General Ford entered the Oslo fjord escorted by a rapid dinghy-type boat with armed people on board. The Norwegian armed forces has said any boats must stay a half-kilometer (half-mile) away from the aircraft carrier and a no-fly zone was created over the area where the aircraft carrier was.

Described as the largest aircraft carrier in the world, the vessel’s first foreign call was broadcast live on Norwegian public television. Onlookser, some using binoculars, were seen on land watching as the large aircraft carrier glided deeper and deeper into the fjord and eventually reach the city of Oslo.

The vessel will stay in the Norwegian capital until Tuesday. After that, it will take part in drills with the Norwegian armed forces.

In early May, the U.S. Navy said that the ship had departed from Norfolk, Virginia, on its “first combat deployment,” following a shorter two-month deployment in the autumn of 2022.

The USS Ford is the first of the U.S. Navy’s new Ford class of aircraft carriers. Two more Ford-class carriers are under construction.

The vessel houses about 2,600 sailors, 600 fewer than the previous generation of aircraft carriers.

The Russian Embassy in Oslo said that “such demonstrations of power look illogical and harmful.”

Ties between Oslo and Moscow have been tense since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Norway and Russia have a 198-kilometer-long (123-mile-long) border in the Arctic.

The Associated Press