The US is sending a dozen F-16 fighter jets and nearly 300 service personnel to Poland by Thursday as part of a training exercise in response to the crisis in neighboring Ukraine, the Polish defense ministry confirmed.
The agreement to deploy US military forces in Poland was made between US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Poland’s Minister of National Defense Tomasz Siemoniak during a telephone conversation on Sunday, March 9, 2014, according to a statement on the official website of the Polish Ministry of National Defense.
“The squadron will number twelve F-16 planes and will transport 300 soldiers,” Polish Defense Ministry spokesman, Jacek Sonta, confirmed to AFP.
Initially, the training exercise was planned to be smaller but was increased and pushed forward because of the “tense political situation” in neighboring Ukraine, added Sonta.
The ministry also said that the aim of sending the units is to “strengthen Polish – American cooperation.” Part of the preparation team of US Air Force has already arrived on Polish territory.
The fighters were sent on the initiative of the Polish government, an initiative immediately accepted by Washington.
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