The U.S. military may flex its muscles in Europe to prove a point to Russia. The possibility of deploying military aircraft, such as Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter jets, arises as a senior official from the U.S. Air Force has said that Russia poses the “biggest threat.”
U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said at the Paris Airshow in Le Bourget, France, that the U.S. Air Force was considering increasing the number of rotational forces in Europe. James said there was no reason why the U.S. should abstain from using fifth-generation F-22 fighter jets in Europe. The export of F-22 Raptors is banned under U.S. law.
“You’ll continue to see more and more rotational forces,” Russia Today quoted James as saying. “The biggest threat on my mind is what’s happening with Russia and the activities of Russia.” She said that was one of the most important reasons why she was in Europe.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday that it would prefer no military involvement in Europe. The ministry referred to the United States and its allies, saying there would be “dangerous consequences” if a military confrontation developed in Europe.
Russia asked U.S. authorities not to engage in military activities near its border. The reaction came after the Pentagon declared it might station heavy weapons and battle tanks in NATO states near Russia, if required.
The New York Times reported that, if the F-22 deployment takes place, it would be the first such U.S. step since the Cold War. While Russia has maintained it had nothing to do with political unrest in eastern Ukraine, nations bordering Russia have expressed concerns about Moscow’s motives.
If the United States eventually deploys weapons near Russia's border, Poland and the Baltic States would likely to welcome the move. James said the U.S. government would not miss any opportunity to reassure its allies that it was standing “shoulder to shoulder” with them.