These B-52s in Europe Have Nothing to Do With Russia, We Swear
American bombers deploy as violence in Ukraine escalates
U.S. bombers arrived at the Royal Air Force base at Fairford in the United Kingdom this week. The deployment comes as violence in Ukraine continues to escalate.
The three B-52s will train in Europe over the next two weeks. The planes “will not bring live weapons into the United Kingdom,” according to a U.S. Air Force press release.
One of the aircraft will also participate in the 70th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day landings during World War II. The bomber will most likely fly over the ceremony in Graignes, France on June 7.
Otherwise, we don’t know exactly where the aircraft will be flying this month. In addition, this “long-planned” deployment officially has nothing to do with events in Ukraine.
However, the bombers simply being present in England “visibly demonstrates our commitment to our Allies and partners,” officials at U.S. Strategic Command told War is Boring. Washington has worked hard to calm European fears that Ukraine’s crisis could spread.
NATO allies in Central and Eastern Europe are especially concerned by the the situation in their neighborhood. Pro-Russian separatists have held their own against Ukrainian forces—and shot down numerous aircraft in the process.
In response, the Pentagon increased the number of training missions in Europe in response to the crisis. American warplanes, paratroopers and commandos have been steadily working with forces throughout the Baltic States in the past few months.
U.S. European Command has two more major training missions scheduled in the Baltic region this month. The Navy is starting the annual Baltic Operations exercise—or BALTOPS—this week in the Baltic Sea. The Army is also holding Saber Strike across Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
U.S. Air Force fighter jets and other personnel are already scheduled to join the sailing and ground combat branches in these events. The flying branch’s bombers are sure to make an imposing appearance.
Private online store BomberPatches.com is already selling a uniform patch with a B-52 silhouette, as well as the text “BALTOPS/SABER STRIKE” and “RAF FAIRFORD 2014.”
American bombers might also visit the U.K. more regularly in the future. Earlier this week, Pres. Barack Obama proposed a new $1-billion “European Reassurance Initiative.”
The money would pay for American soldiers and warplanes to keep going to to Europe on a regular basis. These forces would be “a powerful demonstration of America’s unshakeable commitment to our NATO allies,” Obama said.
But the B-52s send a strong signal all by themselves. The planes “[highlight] the U.S. ability to deter strategic attacks and achieve stability in the midst of future crises and challenges,” officials at STRATCOM said.