- 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.

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.

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