Prudent Gestures and a Wary Eye

NATO is deploying E-3 AWACs to monitor Russian military activity in neighboring Ukraine from the confines of allied airspace over Poland and Romania, alliance officials announced on Monday. “All AWACS surveillance flights will take place solely over Alliance territory and no flights will take place over Ukraine,” according to a March 10 statement from NATO’s AWACS component. Air Force F-16s also will deploy to Lask AB, Poland, to exercise with Polish air force fighters in the coming days, Defense Department officials announced the same day. “What we are doing is reassuring our allies that we are there for them,” said DOD spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren in a release. “This is an important time for us to make it crystal clear to all our allies and partners in the region that the United States of America stands by them,” he added. US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa deployed additional F-15s to Lithuania to augment its NATO air policing rotation last week, and Navy destroyer USS Truxton began exercises with allies in the Black Sea this week. (See also Bracing in the Baltics.)