A Mere Six US F-15 Jets Land In Estonia To Protect “Our Eastern Flank”

On Tuesday White House press secretary Jen Psaki referenced the “sacred obligation” for the US to defend “our” eastern flank, though without specifying any particular action the Pentagon was mulling.

Apparently this translates to a mere six US F-15 fighter jets deployed to “our eastern flank”, which have landed in an Estonian airbase on Wednesday. Given it has lately deployed its own fighter jets along with S-400 anti-air missile defense systems to Belarus ahead of planned joint war drills, Russia is unlikely to be impressed.

“American F-15 jets landed in an Estonian airbase today, the Lithuanian defense ministry said,” The Independent reports. And more on these very limited NATO reinforcements: “Denmark has said it will deploy four F-16 fighter jets to a nearby Lithuanian airbase in Siauliai on Thursday.”

In total that makes just shy of a dozen fighters, in what’s clearly a mere symbolic move amid the endless posturing which has given way this week to diplomatic talks, particularly the four-way Normandy format talks kicking off Wednesday in Paris among Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia.

A spokesperson for the Amari airbase in Estonia, where the US F-15s have landed, said “The six fighter jets will be deployed until the end of next week.” It should also be noted that US fighter jets somewhat routinely fly to Amari as part of rotating NATO patrol missions.

Reuters underscored in its reporting thatEstonia, Latvia and Lithuania – Baltic countries once ruled from Moscow but now part of both NATO and the European Union – do not operate fighter jets and rely on NATO to police their airspace.”

Of the NATO aircraft entering the Baltics region, NATO’s allied Air Command said in a statement: “The aircraft plan to work with other Allied nations throughout the Baltics practicing air-to-air and air-to-ground training maneuvers in addition, to the Air Policing missions.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s military also continues flexing amid the continued Ukraine border standoff, per Russian media reports:

Over twenty warships from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet took to the seas for large-scale drills on Wednesday, with warships, fast attack craft and support vessels leaving their ports in Sevastopol and Novorossiysk and transiting to their designated areas.

Footage published by the Defense Ministry shows large warships including the Kalibr-armed Admiral Essen frigate and the Buyan-class Ingushetiya corvette at sea, with small missile ships, landing craft, anti-submarine warships and minesweepers grouped into heterogeneous groupings, naval strike groups and landing detachments also involved in the exercises.

Despite the last couple weeks of building war rhetoric, for now it doesn’t seem either side has an appetite for armed conflict. Russia has repeatedly said there are no plans for an invasion of Ukraine, while Germany and France in particular have broken with their US and UK allies when it comes to building up weapons in Ukraine and escalating the situation militarily.

Further the Europeans are emphasizing that a diplomatic solution is of primary importance. As a case in point…

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