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U.S. F-22 Jets Land In Lithuania In Show Of Regional Support

The U.S. and NATO flags fly in front of two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter jets at the air base in Siauliai, Lithuania, on April 27.

The U.S. Air Force landed two of its most advanced jets in Lithuania for the first time on April 27 in a show of support for a region worried by Russian aggression in Ukraine.

NATO's Baltic members have been riled by acts by Russian warplanes in recent weeks, including one making "simulated attack passes" near a U.S. warship and another passing within 50 feet of a U.S. reconnaissance plane.

The F-22 fighter jets, which previously visited Poland, Estonia, and Romania, were greeted by Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.

"Without singling out any neighbor, I would like to say that no one has any right to poke their noses into here," she said. "This is a demonstration that the United States is honoring its commitments and is ready to protect our region with all the most modern measures."

F-22s are almost impossible to detect on radar and are so advanced that the U.S. Congress has banned Lockheed Martin from selling them abroad.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a Swedish newspaper interview published on April 28 charged that Lithuania is the "most Russophobic country in the Baltic region."

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and TASS