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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian Bear bombers conduct cruise missile practice

RIA Novosti

26/10/2007 16:41 MOSCOW, October 26 (RIA Novosti) - Two Russian Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers will practice on Friday launches of cruise missiles at a testing site in southern Russia, an Air Force spokesman said.

Russian strategic bombers began on October 16 a series of long-range training flights over the Arctic region, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and the Black Sea with simulated bomber raids and missile launches missiles at testing grounds in northern and southern Russia. The exercises will continue until October 30.

Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky also said up to 10 Tu-95MS bombers and two Il-78 aerial tankers flew scheduled flight patrols on Thursday in neutral airspace, and were accompanied for at least five hours by NATO F-16 and Tornado fighters.

Russia has stepped up practice runs of its strategic bombers ever since President Vladimir Putin announced the resumption of strategic patrol flights on August 17. The president said at the time that although the country halted long-distance strategic flights to remote regions in 1992, other nations had continued the practice, compromising Russian national security.

Although NATO countries expressed concern over possible violations of their airspace and scramble their fighters as a "routine response" when Russian bombers fly close to their borders, Moscow says all the latest flights are within air patrolling corridors permitted by international regulations.



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