US Spy Plane Reporteldy Conducts First Flight Over Eastern Ukraine to Gather Intelligence
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US spy plane JSTARS E-8 has conducted its first flight over eastern Ukraine to collect ground intelligence, CNN reported on Wednesday citing European Command (EUCOM) spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Russ Wolfkiel.
The first overflight in Ukrainian airspace took place on December 27 and was done with the permission of the Ukrainian government, the report said.
Without describing the exact route, Wolfkiel noted that the airplane kept away from the disputed area of the Donbas, the report said.
On Tuesday, a US defense official told Sputnik that the United States is retaining a nuclear aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean instead of sending it on to the Middle East in order to reassure allies as tensions remain high over Ukraine.
The aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman and its escorts are now operating in the Ionian Sea between Greece and Italy rather than sailing through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea in support of the US Central Command, according to media reports.
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have worsened in the past couple of months amid an alleged Russian troop buildup at the Ukrainian border and claims of preparations for an invasion. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations, arguing that Russia has the right to relocate troops within its sovereign territory at its own discretion, while saying that NATO's military activity near Russia's borders poses a threat to its national security.
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