BUCHAREST (Reuters) – NATO reconnaissance planes arrived in Romania on Tuesday to reinforce the eastern flank of the military alliance and monitor Russian military activity.
The first deployed plane will land at an air force base near Bucharest, with two more scheduled to land later in the day and on Wednesday. They plan to stay for several weeks.
NATO announced last week that it would deploy an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) reconnaissance plane to Bucharest and begin conducting reconnaissance flights only over NATO territory.
“In the context of Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine, NATO monitors military activities in the East with the help of AWACS aircraft,” Romanian Defense Minister Ángel Tilvar said on Facebook.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine last February, NATO has strengthened its air presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltics, using fighter planes, surveillance planes and tankers.
Aircraft deployed in Romania belong to a fleet of 14 NATO reconnaissance aircraft, usually based in Germany. NATO says it can detect other aircraft hundreds of kilometers away.
“As Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine continues to threaten European peace and security, NATO’s determination to protect and defend every inch of Allied territory is beyond doubt,” NATO said. Spokesperson Oana Lungescu said in a Jan. 12 statement about the deployment.
Reporting by Octav Ganea from Bucharest and Jason Hovet from Prague.Edited by Angus Maxwan
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