WASHINGTON, March 10 (Xinhua) -- The United States is to deploy more F-16 fighter planes to Poland in the coming days and weeks, amid rising tensions in Ukraine's Crimea, the Pentagon said Monday.
But no decision has been made on the exact number of F-16 fighter planes to be deployed in Poland, Pentagon spokesman Steve Warren was quoted by American Forces Press Service as saying.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone on Sunday with his Polish counterpart Tomasz Siemoniak, who thanked Hagel for looking at options for basing, Warren said.
U.S. European Command would provide the aircraft once a decision is made, he added.
Currently, ten U.S. Air Force personnel, part of the 52nd Fighter Wing based in Spangdahlem, Germany, are stationed at Lask Air Base in Poland, though there is no permanent jet presence there. They support quarterly rotations of U.S. F-16s and C-130s for joint training with the Polish air force.
"What we are doing is reassuring our allies that we are there for them," Warren said. "This is an important time for us to make it crystal clear to all our allies and partners in the region that the United States of America stands by them."
This is part of the U.S. response to the crisis in Crimea, an autonomous republic of Ukraine, which broke out after Russia's military intervention following the ouster of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych in late February.
The U.S. has sent six more F-15C Eagle aircraft to beef up the air policing mission in the Baltics. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy deployed the USS Truxton guided missile destroyer to the Black Sea in the past week.