Polish F-16s will be part of Air Force drills with Ukrainian planes from May to July. (Wikimedia/Polish Ministry of Defence)
WARSAW — Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense has announced plans to hold joint drills of the Ukrainian and Polish air forces. Under the plan, Ukraine’s Mikoyan MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-27 jet fighters will participate in the military exercises along with Poland’s F-16s and Mikoyan MiG-29s, the ministry said in a statement.
The Safe Sky 2014 drills are scheduled from May to July, the statement said. The drills will be focused on the tactical aspects of intercepting air targets.
The latest move comes as Russia-backed troops are concentrating in Ukraine’s Crimea. The pro-Russian forces have taken over a number of Ukrainian military facilities there to tighten their grip on the Black Sea peninsula.
Ukraine’s defense minister and former Navy chief, Igor Tenyukh, said in a television interview March 9 that during the past weeks, Russia’s Black Sea fleet has expanded its military presence in Crimea from 12,500 troops to an estimated 18,768 troops.
Among European Union member states, Poland has been one of the most vocal critics of the Russian intervention in Ukraine. The Polish government was also one of the first to recognize the new Ukrainian government formed by Prime Minister Areniy Yatsenuk in late February. ■