US military aircraft have begun flying surveillance missions near the breakaway Transdniestr enclave in Moldova, where about 1,000 Russian troops are based.
The Beechcraft MC-12W Liberty aircraft flights were first identified earlier in January when their ADS-B transponder signals appeared on open source flight tracking websites.
On several occasions, the aircraft, the transponders of which were registered as belonging to MC-12Ws of the 137th Special Operations Wing, were tracked taking off from Constanta airport in Romania and then heading north towards Ukraine. The aircraft then flew race track patterns at points along the Ukrainian-Transdniestr border, including close to the region's capital, Tiraspol, where the bulk of the Russian military contingent is based.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihsmarkit.com/janes