Part of the tightrope the Obama White House and Pentagon are trying to walk on the Russia-Ukraine standoff is how to flex some American military muscles without flexing the ones that might set off Vladimir Putin. On Tuesday, US officials tried a little digital deterrence.
US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa posted a tweet at 4 a.m. EST: “#F16 Fighting Falcons parked on the flightline in #Romania during Exercise Dacian Viper bilateral training,” which was followed by a link to the above image.
Those are Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighters, ready for use in ongoing joint US-Romanian military exercises.
The exercises are taking place across the Black Sea from Crimea, the southern Ukrainian peninsula that Russian President Vladimir Putin claims to have annexed.
The US-Romanian exercises were previously announced. Still, mentioning F-16s in a press release as a partial means of deterrence is one thing. Posting an image of several of the fighters parked within striking distance of Crimea-occupying Russian forces is another.