United States

US deploys F-15 fighter jets to Baltics until end of next week

Reuters
US deploys F-15 fighter jets to Baltics until end of next week

An F-15EX Eagle II from the 40th Flight Test Squadron, 96th Test Wing out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, flies in formation during an aerial refueling operation above the skies of Northern California, May 14. The Eagle II participated in the Northern Edge 21 exercise in Alaska earlier in May. (Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner)

Ethan Wagner/ US Air Force

NATO says it is putting forces on standby and reinforcing eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets

VILNIUS, Lithuania – Six American F-15 jets landed in an Estonian airbase on Wednesday, January 24, for deployment for a week and a half, as the NATO transatlantic military alliance reinforced its eastern flank due to frictions with Russia over Ukraine.

NATO said on Monday, January 24, it was putting forces on standby and reinforcing eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets, in what Russia denounced as Western “hysteria” in response to its build-up of troops on the Ukraine border.

The Monday announcement did not mention the US jets being deployed in Estonia.

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“The six fighter jets will be deployed until the end of next week”, said a spokesperson at the Amari airbase in Estonia.

The F-15s will enhance NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, said NATO’s Allied Air Command.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – Baltic countries once ruled from Moscow but now part of both NATO and the European Union – do not operate fighter jets and rely on NATO to police their airspace.

NATO has previously announced that Denmark will deploy four F-16 fighter jets to a nearby Lithuanian airbase in Siauliai on Thursday.

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“The aircraft plan to work with other Allied nations throughout the Baltics practicing air-to-air and air-to-ground training maneuvers in addition, to the Air Policing missions,” the Allied Air Command said in a statement.

Tensions are running high after Russia massed an estimated 100,000 troops within reach of its neighbor’s border, surrounding Ukraine from the north, east and south. – Rappler.com