Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

U.S. Moves Six Fighter Jets to Baltics, More Airmen to Poland

An American F-15 fighter aircraft.Graham Barclay / Getty Images

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

The U.S. military is increasing its presence in Poland and the Baltics in response to the crisis in Ukraine, officials said Wednesday.

The military will deploy jets now in the Britian — six F-15 fighters and one KC-135 re-fueler — to Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania, a U.S. defense official told NBC News.

The U.S. already has four F-15s in Lithuania as part of a NATO’s Baltic air policing rotation — jets that fly patrols and respond to airspace violations in the Baltics.

The NATO air patrols have been in place for a decade and include military aircraft from Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, Romania, Turkey, and Czech Republic.

The U.S. rotation lasts from Jan. 1 through April 30, 2014.

At the request of Poland, the Pentagon is beefing up the number of U.S. airmen assigned to an aviation detachment in Poland that trains the Polish Air Force.

The United States has 10 Air Force personnel there now, as well as F-16s and C-130s. The U.S. defense official could not say how many additional airmen would go to Poland, but did say that they would arrive sometime this week — likely tomorrow.

In a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel refused to speculate on what the United States military response would be if Russian troops, who now control Crimea, advance toward Kiev.

Hagel also said supplying additional arms to Ukraine would be a joint NATO or presidential decision.

Canada is sending two observers to track military activities on the Crimean peninsula, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement Wednesday.

— Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news

Have feedback?

How likely are you to recommend nbcnews.com to a friend or colleague?

0 = Very unlikely
10 = Very likely
Please select answer

Is your feedback about:

Please select answer

Thank you!

Your feedback has been sent out. Please enjoy more of our content.

We appreciate your help making nbcnews.com a better place.