SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Russia's air force has moved some of its most sophisticated war planes to Belbek, near Crimea's capital of Sevastopol and the Ukrainian border.
The planes now at the Belbek base, boosting Russian air power in the Black Sea area, include 10 upgraded Su-27SM fighter planes and four Su-30 fighter-bombers, Capt. Vyacheslav Trukhachev of Russia's Black Sea Naval Fleet told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti Wednesday.
It was reported earlier the air base would be significantly renovated for the planes and for other elements of a modernized air force expected at Belbek. The action could be seen as evidence of additional advanced armaments arriving near the border between Ukraine and Russia. Ground troops, as well as mechanized equipment such as tanks and armored personnel carriers, were observed entering Ukraine last month, and several days ago a Mikoyan Su-31, Russia's most advanced interceptor plane, was seen arriving at a base on Russian territory near the Ukraine border.
Prior to Russia's March annexation of Crimea, territory most countries still regard as belonging to Ukraine, the Belbek base housed much of the Ukrainian air force. Some of those planes were returned, dismantled, to the Ukrainian air force, which has a large number of planes but is limited by underfunding and limited training.