U.S. F-15 fighter jets have arrived in Poland as America and its NATO allies seek to bolster defenses along the alliance’s eastern flank ahead of a potential military conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“US Air Force F-15 fighter jets landed in Łask to contribute to #NATOAirPolicingMission on the Eastern Flank of the Alliance,” Poland’s delegation to NATO said on Twitter.

In a statement, U.S. European Command said the F-15s from the 48th Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Lakenheath in the United Kingdom will work alongside Polish and Danish F-16 aircraft executing the air policing mission from Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania.

Air Force Gen. Jeff Harrigian, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, said in a statement that the deployment “elevates the collective defense capabilities on NATO’s Eastern flank and the enhanced Air Policing mission.”

“The commitment of U.S. aircraft and Airmen demonstrates the solidarity of the Alliance, as we continue to work together in unity to execute our defensive mission,” Harrigian added.

NATO has been scrambling to bolster its defenses as Russia has amassed over 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, sparking fears that the Kremlin may launch a military offensive.

The U.S. is deploying 2,000 troops to Poland and Germany, of which 1,700 from the 82nd Airborne Division based in North Carolina are being deployed to Poland. Another 1,000 troops will be repositioned from Germany to Romania.

American troops first landed near the Poland-Ukraine border on Saturday, and Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that a “couple hundred” troops had arrived in Poland as of Monday, with more to arrive in the coming days. 

Separately on Thursday, Poland’s Ministry of National Defense tweeted that another round of American soldiers and British soldiers arrived in Warsaw and Rzeszów.  

Tags F-15 fighter jets John Kirby NATO allies Russia-Ukraine conflict US Air Force

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