Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said two additional RAF fighter jets will be stationed in Romania as NATO strengthens it presence in the eastern flank after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
The Royal Air Force already has eight Typhoons stationed in Cyprus, and this uplift will bring the total number of RAF fighter jets stationed in south-eastern Europe to 14, a statement said.
“The UK and Romania are steadfast in the defense of our shared values and commitment to NATO’s collective security, in the air, at sea, and on land,” the defense secretary said at a ceremony Friday.
“Together we are supporting Ukraine in its defense against (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s illegal invasion and I pay tribute to Romania’s generosity providing shelter for the tens of thousands of innocent civilians fleeing this horrific conflict, “ he added.
Mr. Wallace joined a ceremony at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase in Romania alongside Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston as the UK took over the command of NATO’s Air Policing mission from Italy.
“Our air forces are at the vanguard of NATO’s collective security, united in our shared determination to protect our nations.,” the air chief marshal said.
“From the North of Norway to the Black Sea and Mediterranean, aircraft are airborne, alert and ready to defend against any threat to NATO territory or populations.”
Jets took part in a scramble exercise and flypast, showcasing NATO’s ability to rapidly respond to incursions to Allied airspace.
They met Romanian Defense Minister Vasile Dincu and Chief of the Defense Staff, General Daniel Petrescu to discuss regional security, the war in Ukraine, and further strengthening the UK-Romania bilateral relationship.