Four American advanced fighter jets arrived in Romania and will begin conducting patrols over the Black Sea region, according to NATO. The deployment comes as Washington wages a proxy war against Moscow in Ukraine that has stretched into the Black Sea.
Acting NATO Spokesperson Dylan White announced the arrival of F-16s on Friday. “I welcome the United States’ deployment of additional F-16 fighter jets to NATO’s air policing mission in Romania,” he said. “This sends a clear message that we will protect every ally. As Russia continues its brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, we have seen a number of strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure very close to NATO territory. We remain vigilant and in close contact with Allies in the region.”
Last week, Romania extended a no-fly zone along its eastern border. Bucharest said the restriction extends to 20-30 kilometers inside Romanian territory. As the fighting in Ukraine has expanded into the country’s west, debris from battles has landed in Romanian territory.
The war in Ukraine regularly spills into the Black Sea. In the past week, Ukraine has launched multiple attacks on Sevastopol, a Russian port on the body of water. The port is home to one of Moscow’s most critical naval bases.
Additionally, American and Russian aircraft have already clashed over the Black Sea. In March, a US Reaper drone, flying out of a base in Romania, crashed after a Russian Su-27 dumped fuel on it.