March 6, 2014 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Poland's defense ministry has confirmed that the US military will send 12 F-16 fighter jets and 300 service personnel to Poland next week for a training exercise whose scope was expanded in response to the crisis in neighboring Ukraine.
Tomasz Siemoniak said the training exercise, centred on the Lask air force base in central Poland
, was originally to have been smaller and involved only transport aircraft. He said Poland requested it be beefed up after Russia's intervention in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula.
Six F-15s landed in Lithuania, along with two K-135 refueling tankers, as part of that effort on Thursday morning.
Additionally, Six F-15C Eagles from RAF Lakenheath (UK) along with two K-135 refueling tankers, were en route today to Siauliai air base in Lithuania to bolster NATO
’s air policing mission over the Baltics region amid the crisis in nearby Ukraine.