Poland has become the first former Warsaw Pact country to take responsibility for patrolling the air space of the three Baltic states.
Polish pilots took over the rotating Nato mission from the US at a ceremony in northern Lithuania. Seventy Polish air force personnel will serve there.
Poland joined Nato six years ago and it is the first time its pilots will patrol air space bordering Russia.
Four Russian-made MiG-29 jets will be flown during the three-month mission.
The planes have been specially upgraded by Nato to meet the alliance's standards.
Nato member states have taken it in turns to patrol the Baltic skies since the three nations joined the alliance in March last year.
But it is the first time a former Warsaw Pact member has taken over the job and it has caused fears here that the Russians may take advantage of it to test the Polish pilots' skills.
Friday, December 30, 2005
Via the BBC: