The US Air Force is sending its newest fighter jets to Estonia and Romania as part of a program set up after Russia annexed Crimea from the Ukraine in 2014, a US official has told CNN.
F-35A stealth Joint Strike Fighters will fly from the United Kingdom to NATO-ally Estonia in the coming days, the official said. Estonia, a former Soviet republic, shares an almost 300-km-long border with Russia.
F-35s will also deploy to Romania, another current NATO member and former Warsaw Pact ally of the Soviet Union, the official said.
Both Estonia and Romania are wary of Russian aggression following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. The official said the F-35A deployment to Europe is part of the European Reassurance Initiative set up in the wake of that annexation.
The F-35s are just the latest of example of US Air Force jets sent to Europe in connection with the European Reassurance Initiative. Others have included F-22s, F-16s, F-15s and A-10s, CNN also reported.
On Monday four UK Eurofighter Typhoon jets have landed at the Kogalniceanu air base in eastern Romania to carry out air space defence during May 1-August 31, along with Romanian MiG-21 LanceR fighters, digi24.ro informed. More than 150 military, pilots and technicians accompany the British aircraft.