Turkey's Air Force has once again scrambled six of its F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighters to intercept a Russian IL-20 surveillance plane flying near its Black Sea coastal frontier.
Hurriyet Daily News informs us that the plane was flying in international airspace close to Turkey's air space. This comes a mere three days after a similar incident transpired over the Black Sea.
North of the Black Sea in Crimea is where the current crisis is taking place following a military intervention by the Russian Federation. About 30,000 Russian troops have entered that peninsula.
As Reuters pointed out in a recent report , the USS Tuxton, a guided-missile destroyer, crossed through Turkey's Bosphorus Strait into the Black Sea. However this is part of a "routine" deployment which was planned before the current crisis began.
Just today however, that crisis in Ukraine has seen U.S President Barack Obama ordering 12 F-16 fighter jets of the US Air Force along with a contingent of 300 service personnel in response to the crisis.
U.S ambassador to Poland, Stephen Mull had this to say in relation to this deployment,
"When we face such a dramatic challenge for our security, we need to reassure our allies that our security guarantees are valid."
In other military developments International Business Times reports that the United States will also station six F-15 Eagle jet fighters in Lithuania. This they say is a response to "Russian aggression in Ukraine and additional military activity in the Kaliningrad region."
Kaliningrad and Crimea
Historically Kaliningrad was a former German exclave, historically known as East Prussia, in the Baltic west of Lithuania which was evacuated in January 1945 before the Soviets overran it over and subsequently annexed it. Unlike other Soviet satellites it remained as part of the territory of the Russian Federation after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and remains a part of Russia to the present day.
Interestingly Crimea was given to the Ukrainian Soviet satellite state in 1954 under Premier Khrushchev and therefore reverted to independent Ukraine following the collapse of the Soviet Union.