- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 4, 2014

Several dozen of what appeared to be Russian fighter jets have been spotted above the Moscow-controlled peninsula of Crimea, according to a report by the Agence France-Presse.

The agency reported on Wednesday that President Vladimir Putin is poised to visit Crimea for a May 9 military parade to mark Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

A local aviation expert told AFP that he had sighted a number of planes, including “supersonic heavy strategic bombers and heavy military transport aircraft,” over the peninsula’s main city of Simferopol on Saturday.

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He told AFP he also saw refueling tankers and MiG-29 jets.

Another expert, Alexei Savich, identified a Sukhoi Su-34 fighter jet among the fleet.

“Russia is most likely ramping up its military presence on the peninsula,” he said.

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Many local residents in Simferopol and the neighboring town of Bakhchisarai have seen the aircraft flying low over the peninsula and re-fulling in mid-air.

“It was a bit scary,” Arzy Khaibulaeva told AFP. “Children were frightened.”

The Russian defense ministry declined to comment to AFP on Sunday.