US stealth fighters make historic visit to Estonia

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

Yesterday's brief visit comes as tensions are running high with neighbouring Russia over its role in the conflict in Ukraine.

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

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, sometimes even encroaching into Estonian airspace.

The US confirmed on Tuesday that it will operate a pair of stealth drones from an airbase in Latvia for two weeks, while Lithuania is currently hosting Hungarian aircraft as another component of the Nato Baltic Air Policing mission.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2015, with the headline 'US stealth fighters make historic visit to Estonia'. Print Edition | Subscribe