NATO will downsize its air policing mission over the Baltics by half beginning Sept. 1, a spokesman for the alliance said, the Baltic News Service reported Aug 5. Eight fighter jets will patrol the skies above Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, compared to the 16 jets currently assigned to the mission. The current force is well above the military requirements established after the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the spokesman said. At least four jets stationed in Lithuania have patrolled the regional skies since the three countries joined NATO in 2004, but additional aircraft were deployed to each after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Nordic and Baltic states are rethinking their regional alliances and defense strategies as Russia continues with its campaign of military provocation.