France offers warplanes for Baltic air patrols

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PARIS (AP) - A defense ministry official says France is offering to send warplanes to help provide air patrols over the Baltic states and Poland amid growing tensions between the West and Russia.

The ministry official says France was “available - if NATO requests it - to contribute to air policing patrols” in the former Soviet republics and Poland, now members of the Atlantic alliance. The comments came as French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visiting Estonia, Lithuania and Poland on Friday.

The United States and Britain have already provided such support.

A French contribution could include warplanes, AWACs surveillance aircraft and radar. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

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