The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that two of its Tu-95MS strategic bombers had flown more than 12 hours over the Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk.
The flight of the nuclear-capable planes came at a time of heightened tension in Russia’s war with Ukraine and its clash with the West, after NATO and the United States said they expected Russia to test its nuclear forces soon.
The aircraft were escorted by MiG-31 fighter jets and refueled while in the air, said the ministry, which described the mission as “a scheduled flight over neutral waters” in accordance with international airspace rules.
The ministry did not specify the route, but a flight path over the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea would have passed close to Japan and the United States.
NATO is holding nuclear readiness exercises this week and has said it expects Russia to conduct its own nuclear exercises soon. The Kremlin said on Tuesday that it had no information on that.
US officials said they expected Russian exercises to include the launch of ballistic missile tests.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on September 21 that he was prepared to defend Russia’s “territorial integrity” by all means, including nuclear weapons if necessary.
The following week, he proclaimed that Russia was absorbing four Ukrainian regions – an action widely condemned as illegal by the United Nations General Assembly – and bringing them under its nuclear umbrella.
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Translated to english by RJ983
From Brazil, by EBC News