Two of the most advanced warplanes on the planet have arrived in Romania alongside a refuelling plane, as the US seeks to reassure the region that it is committed to providing military protection.
In April, a Russian jet “buzzed” a US warship in the Baltic Sea, making a close and threatening pass over the vessel.
Commenting on the incident, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned “under the rules of engagement, that could have been a shoot-down, so people need to understand that this is serious business.”
Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near the Black Sea coast of Romania will host the aircraft.
“Today, I would like to highlight this deployment as a demonstration of our promise to support Romania and the rest of our NATO allies,” Lt. Gen. Timothy Ray, 3rd Air Force commander, said during a press conference. “Romania is one of our strongest allies.”
The F-22 was developed by Lockheed Martin and is considered one of the world’s most advanced fighters, combining stealth and performance.
President Obama had promised in 2014 for greater air patrols in Eastern European members of NATO.
Last month, the US military announced it would increase the number of troop deployments around six NATO members – including Romania.
NATO also operates missile defense systems in the region.