The French navy frigate FS Cassard passes alongside the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush during a scheduled exercise March 13 in the Mediterranean Sea. (Cmdr. Tom Winkler/Navy)
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The carrier George H.W. Bush will be extended for “several days” in the Mediterranean Sea as the political crisis in Ukraine continues, according to the Defense Department.
The delay comes just days before a vote in Crimea that could result in the peninsula breaking away from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation.
The U.S. has said it will not recognize the results if Crimea votes to join Russia, as many expect.
The Bush, which deployed in February, is in the Mediterranean on its way to relieving the carrier Harry S. Truman in 5th Fleet. Its escorts include the destroyer Roosevelt, the cruiser Philippine Sea and the destroyer Truxtun, which is currently steaming in the Black Sea.
Navy officials say the Truman, which is in the Gulf of Oman, is still on schedule to return from its deployment, which began July 22.