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Danish NATO warplanes land in Estonia amid Ukraine crisis
by Staff Writers
Tallinn (AFP) April 30, 2014


Canada sends warship to Eastern Europe ops
Ottawa (AFP) April 30, 2014 - A Canadian warship was ordered Wednesday to join NATO efforts to bolster security in Eastern Europe amid rising tensions with Russia over Ukraine.

The announcement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper comes after Ottawa already sent this week six fighter jets to Romania to take part in increased NATO patrols over Eastern Europe.

"Russia's illegal occupation of Ukraine and provocative military activity remains a serious concern to the international community," Harper said.

The patrol frigate HMCS Regina is currently deployed in the Arabian Sea.

It is being committed to the NATO Standing Maritime Forces as part of NATO's "reassurance package" to Alliance members which border Russia, Harper said.

NATO announced this month that it would step up its defenses in Eastern Europe due to the growing crisis.

Four Danish F-16 warplanes landed in Estonia on Wednesday, marking the first time NATO planes will be stationed in the ex-Soviet state and Russian neighbour.

The aircraft and a supporting team of 60 people arrived at the Amari air base in the west of the Baltic state at a time when NATO is reinforcing its presence in the region to allay concerns triggered by the Ukraine crisis.

"Your arrival in Estonia and the opening of the Amari base to regular NATO flights increases the security of our region," Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas said at a ceremony.

"But work on the security of Estonia and Europe is far from over. We are working to make our NATO allies' stay in Estonia permanent."

Until now the Western defence alliance's sole Baltic air base was in Siauliai in northern Lithuania, Estonian defence forces spokesman Roland Murof said.

Some 150 US troops also arrived in Estonia on Monday, part of a 600-strong force that Washington sent to Poland and the Baltics to reassure the region.

Britain also sent four Typhoon fighters to Lithuania this week, while Poland contributed four MiG 29s, and France sent four Rafale jets to Poland.

Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania spent five decades under Soviet occupation until 1991 before joining NATO and the European Union in 2004.

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