The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that two of its Tu-95MS strategic bombers performed a flight of more than 12 hours over the Pacific Ocean and the seas of Okhotsk and Bering – where the coast of Alaska is located, in the United States.
THE Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (nato) carry out military exercises this week.
The flight of the Russian nuclear-capable aircraft came at a time of heightened tension in Russia’s war with Ukraine. This week, NATO and the United States also said they expect Russia to test its nuclear forces soon.
The Ministry did not specify the route taken in the maneuvers. The Sea of Okhotsk is close to Japan, and the Bering Sea to the United States.
2018 image shows Russian Tu-95MS bombing being refueled in the air. — Photo: Russian Defense Ministry via AP
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.
NATO is also holding nuclear readiness exercises this week and has said it expects Russia to do the same. The Kremlin said on Tuesday it had no information about such a test.
The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, warned in a September 21 speech that it was prepared to defend Russia’s “territorial integrity” by all means, including nuclear weapons if necessary.
The following week, Putin proclaimed that Russia was absorbing four Ukrainian regions after illegal referendums – a move widely condemned as illegal by the United Nations General Assembly – and placing them under its nuclear umbrella.
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Also on Tuesday, Russia again bombed Kiev. More than a week ago, the Ukrainian capital, which had been relatively calm since late March, was again targeted by Russian missiles.
Last week, Moscow launched its worst attack on the Ukrainian capital since the start of the war on February 24.
The offensive is a harsh response by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the explosion recorded days earlier on the bridge connecting Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula illegally annexed by Russia in 2014. The road, Crimea’s only link with Russian territory, is also a strong point. symbol of the Russian occupation, and was inaugurated by Vladimir Putin himself in 2018.
Officially, the Ukrainian government did not claim responsibility for the explosion on the bridge, but Kiev expected a strong reaction from Russia.
Also on Tuesday, Ukraine received 2 billion euros (about R$ 10 million) in aid from the European Union.