16-10-2019 03:41 PM Jerusalem Timing

Two US Warplanes Land in Estonia amid Russia Tensions

Two US Warplanes Land in Estonia amid Russia Tensions

Two of the US Air Force’s most advanced planes, F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, made a landmark visit to Estonia Friday

Two of the US Air Force's most advanced planes, F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, made a landmark visit to Estonia Friday, the first time the state-of-the-art aircraft have visited former Soviet territory.

The visit comes as tensions are running high with neighboring Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

The jets landed at noon at the Amari airbase, which currently also hosts German fighters belonging to NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission, created to help small Baltic members protect their borders with Russia.

US warplaneEstonian Air Force public affairs officer Alar Laats told AFP the visit would last only a matter of hours and was for training purposes.

"They are leaving today in the late afternoon or early evening to return to their base in Germany," said Laats.

The move is likely to be viewed as provocative by Russia which regularly sends its own fighter aircraft close to the borders of the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The US confirmed on Tuesday that for two weeks it would be operating a pair of stealth drones from the Lielvarde airbase in Latvia, while neighboring Lithuania is currently hosting Hungarian aircraft at the Siauliai airbase as another component of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission.

On Monday, two US F-22s also visited fellow NATO ally Poland which borders war-torn Ukraine.