On October 8, multinational military military drills titled “Clear Sky-2018” kicked off in Ukraine. The drills involve nine countries – the US, the UK, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine – and has the length of 12 days.
According to reports, F-15C Eagle jets and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft of the US Air Force arrived in Ukraine to particiapte in the drills.
“The personnel and the aircrafts of the Ukrainian Air Force were redeployed to the Starokonstantinov airfield. A significant event was the arrival of the F-15 aircrafts of the 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.
The ministry added that the goal of the drills are “to raise the level of the crews’ preparedness during the performance of tactical tasks, and to raise compatibility with the air forces of the US and other NATO member states.”
According to Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat, Polish and Romanian aircraft will fly in to work with their Ukrainian counterparts in what will be “the first time” they work together “in the air to protect the airspace.”
The ongoing drills are another sign of the growing NATO influence in the country. The US and its allies are actively using the current instability in Ukraine to boost its military presence near the Russian border.