The Pentagon says it is sending a handful of F-15s to Poland.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. military is boosting its NATO presence in a bid to support the defenses of U.S. allies in Europe in response to Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
After Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel first alluded to the effort during testimony on Capitol Hill earlier Wednesday morning, a Defense official confirmed that the U.S. will send six additional F-15s and one KC-135 to “augment the mission” in Baltic countries.
The U.S. currently provides four F-15s to what’s known as the Baltic Air Policing rotation. The additional aircraft will be sent from a base in Britain to Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania, the official said.
Poland and Lithuania had called for a NATO Article 4 meeting over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Both nations were subjected to brutal domination from Moscow during the Soviet era and are NATO and EU members now. Lithuania, like its fellow Baltic states Ukraine, has a Russian-speaking minority.