In response to escalating and unsafe Russian aircraft activity, the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) has announced the deployment of F-22 fighter jets to the Middle East.

The stealth aircraft, originating from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, will join existing American and allied forces operating in the region, as outlined in a CENTCOM news release. This deployment aims to address the challenges posed by Russian forces’ hazardous and unprofessional behavior, which deviates from the expectations of a professional air force. Violations of agreed airspace deconfliction measures by Russian forces increase the potential for an escalation of tensions or miscalculations.

This move by the U.S. military comes as relations between the United States and Russia remain strained amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Reports from American military officials indicate a pattern of increasingly reckless Russian activity in the Middle East region over the past few months.

In March, armed Russian jets were observed flying over a U.S. military outpost in Syria almost daily, according to an army commander interviewed by NBC News. Furthermore, in April, Russian pilots appeared to be inviting American jets to engage in dogfights in Syria, as disclosed by a lieutenant general to the military publication Defense One.