US Redeploys Several F-35 Fighters to Germany to 'Deter Aggression' As Tensions Worsen Over Ukraine

© JOEL SAGETTwo US Air Force Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets fly over the beach of Houlgate, north-western France, on June 6, 2021.
Two US Air Force Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets fly over the beach of Houlgate, north-western France, on June 6, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.02.2022
NATO earlier deployed a large chunk of its forces closer to its eastern frontiers citing the alleged threat that Russia would "invade" Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly denied planning to attack its neighbour and condemned the West's "hysteria" over the alleged offensive.
The US Air Force Reserve Command has announced that a squadron of fifth-generation F-35A stealth fighter jets had been redeployed to Germany's Spangdahlem Air Base on 16 February to "deter aggression and defend allies should deterrence fail". The command's statement did not specify the number of jets, but the US Air Force fighter squadrons normally comprise between 18 and 24 aircraft, including support vehicles, such as air refuelling tankers.
The statement also said that the redeployment was carried out with "the full cooperation of the German government".

"[Deployed F-35s] would bolster readiness, enhance NATO’s collective defence posture and further increase air integration capabilities with allied and partner nations," the US Air Force Reserve Command stated.

General Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of the US Air Forces in Europe, claimed in the statement that the deployment of more F-35s in Germany "significantly enhances our support to NATO’s defences". Col Craig Andrie, commander of the 388th Fighter Wing - which was moved to Germany - indicated in turn that the manoeuvre "proves we can provide our air force with the capabilities of the F-35A anywhere in the world rapidly".
Earlier this week, the US Air Force also moved six KC-135 air-refuelling tankers to another German airbase - Ramstein. The Pentagon has also moved eight of its F-15E strike fighters to a base near the Polish town of Lask.
The US Air Force's recent movements form just part of a larger redeployment towards eastern borders by NATO. The bloc members justify the move by the need to "deter" Russia from invading Ukraine. NATO members have been claiming for months that Moscow plans an offensive, pointing to the massing of Russian troops at the Ukraine border as proof. However, the Kremlin has repeatedly denied these allegations and defended its right to move its troops within its own territory as it so chooses.
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