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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian Bear bombers fly along Alaskan, Canadian coastline

RIA Novosti

20/09/2007 19:23 MOSCOW, September 20 (RIA Novosti) - Two Russian strategic Tu-95MS Bear-H bombers carried out a flight along the coasts of Alaska and Canada during recent command and post exercises, the Russian Air Force announced Thursday.

"Each Tu-95 plane took about 30 tons of fuel on board, for the first time since the Soviet era. Their average flight duration was about 17 hours, during which the planes covered a distance of over 13,000 km [8,000 miles]," said Alexander Drobyshevsky, an aide to the Air Force commander.

According to the Air Force, the bombers were refueled in the air by Il-78 Midas tankers.

Drobyshevsky also said another pair of Tu-95MS flew around Greenland into the eastern Atlantic, a flight that took about 12 hours.

President Vladimir Putin announced the resumption of strategic patrol flights on August 17, saying that although the country halted long-distance strategic flights to remote regions in 1992, other nations had continued the practice, compromising Russian national security.

The latest flights were in line with an air patrolling plan, and the planes were accompanied by NATO fighters.

According to various sources, the Russian Air Force currently deploys 141 Tu-22M3 bombers, 40 Tu-95MS bombers, and 14 Tu-160 planes.

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