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Amid Ukraine tension, U.S. F-16 fighters land in Poland

Source: Reuters - Thu, 13 Mar 2014 17:34 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Adds U.S. Embassy confirmation and comments)

WARSAW, March 13 (Reuters) - U.S. F-16 fighter jets landed at Poland's Lask air base on Thursday in a gesture of support for NATO's eastern members after Russia's intervention in Ukraine, the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw said.

"Augmenting the aviation detachment was a deliberate choice to demonstrate to our allies that U.S. commitments to our collective defense responsibilities are credible and remain in force," the Warsaw embassy said in a statement, confirming earlier media reports. "A total of twelve aircraft are scheduled to arrive by the end of this week."

The drills were beefed up at Warsaw's request after Russian forces seized control of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula.

Earlier this week, the United States and Poland began war games in Lask. The U.S. saying both the air drills and joint naval exercises in the Black Sea were planned before the crisis in Ukraine. (Reporting by Adrian Krajewski; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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