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US sends 12 F-16s to Poland in response to the crisis in Ukraine

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.