- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 9, 2014

The United States is sending a dozen F-16 fighter jets and 300 service personnel to Poland as a part of a training exercise in response to the crisis in neighboring Ukraine, the Polish defense ministry said Sunday.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his Polish counterpart Tomasz Siemoniak agreed to the deployment during a phone call, according to a statement from the Polish ministry, the Agence France-Presse reported.

“The unit will be composed of 12 F-16 planes and will transport 300 soldiers,” said defense ministry spokesman Jacek Sonta.

The fighters had reportedly been sent following a request from Poland.

The news comes after the Pentagon announced it was also sending six F-15 jets to join NATO in ramping up surveillance around the Baltic.

A U.S. destroyer will also be deployed to the Black Sea as part of a routine exercise.

In turn the Russians announced major military drills 280 miles from the Ukraine border, The Telegraph reported.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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