A US Air Force F-15 is seen at the airfield near Siauliai, Lithuania, on March 6. (Agence France-Presse)
WARSAW — The US Air Force has deployed fighter jets and military personnel to Lithuania and plans to increase its military presence in Poland. The move comes as concern over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine is rising across the region.
Six F-15C Eagle fighter jets were deployed to the Lithuanian Air Force base in Siauliai, in the country’s north, Thursday, Lithuania’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The US Air Force bolstered its presence in Lithuania to “increase the strength of the Baltic Air Policing mission” and “as a response to the developments in the region,” the statement said. The US military personnel were brought onboard two KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft.
On a related note, 12 F-16 fighter jets and 300 US troops are to be deployed to Poland March 10-11, Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said. The fighter jets will arrive at the military base in Lask, in central Poland.
The US aircraft are scheduled to participate in military drills, the Polish ministry said in a statement.
“On our request, the United States pushed ahead the drills and significantly increased the amount of the aircraft which will arrive in Poland,” Siemoniak was quoted in the statement.
The latest developments follow a statement by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who on Wednesday said that Washington is planning to boost military cooperation with Poland and the Baltic states to express support for its allies amid the Ukraine crisis. ■