Aerobatic teams Russkiye Vityazi (Russian Knights) flying Sukhoi Su-27 and Strizhi.
Aerobatic teams Russkiye Vityazi (Russian Knights) flying Sukhoi Su-27.Reuters File

In a move that will bolster its air presence in the Black Sea peninsula, Russia reportedly has sent dozens of fourth-generation fighter planes and bombers to the Belbek Air Base in Crimea.

The air base on the outskirts of Crimea's capital, Sevastopol, will strengthen Russian hold on the region, which it annexed a year ago.

Captain Vyacheslav Trukhachev, a spokesman for Russia's Black Sea Fleet, told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that 10 Sukhoi Su-27SM fighters and four Su-30 fighter-bombers, were among the most advanced aircraft that were being added to the Russia's 'modernised air force base in Crimea.'

The fleet strengthening of the air base near Crimea appears to be part of Russia's 'grand plan' to reaffirm its position in the Black Peninsula. The latest fleet movement has come only days after Russia sent the Mikoyan MiG-31, an advanced interceptor to Millerovo, a Russian airbase just 25 km from Ukraine.

The move not only gives Russia control of the skies around Ukraine, but the information collected by Putin's forces could be used for assisting Russian-backed separatists inside Ukraine.

In recent days, even Nato aircraft have tracked Russian Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bombers over the Atlantic and Black Sea. It also found sorties of fighters over the Baltic in what the Western alliance called an unusual burst of activity at a tense time in East-West relations.

Russia has continued to affirm its claim over Crimea even though most UN member nations do not recognise Crimea as a part of Russia, rejecting the plebiscite that sanctioned the peninsula's annexation from Ukraine as illegal.

With the addition of the new aircraft, the Russian air force unit in its Belbek base will have 24 warplanes and six training combat aircraft.

Belbek was seized by the Russian forces in March and used to house a sizable chunk of Ukraine's air power capabilities, many of which has been taken over by Russia. Before Russia annexed Crimea, the base had over 40 MiG-29 fighters of the Ukrainian air force.

However, Ukraine still continues to be lacking in air power and Russia on the hand, has effectively been strengthening its airforces around Ukraine. 

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