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Russian Bear bombers to hold exercises in Far East

RIA Novosti

19/03/2008 10:28 MOSCOW, March 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers will conduct exercises in Russia's Far East on March 20-22, the Air Force said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Crews of an air regiment, equipped with Tu-95MS bombers, will participate in planned flight drills and long-range patrols over the Pacific," the statement said.

Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by President Vladimir Putin. The move is widely seen by the West as a sign of Russia's increasingly aggressive military stance.

Russian bombers have since carried out over 70 strategic patrol flights.

Major-General Pavel Androsov, commander of the Air Force's strategic aviation, flew on Wednesday to the Ukrainka strategic air force base in the Amur Region to oversee the upcoming exercises.

He will also oversee exercises of an air squadron of An-30V aerial survey and photography planes on March 23-24 in the Irkutsk Region, the statement said.

An-30V is a member of the An-24 family and has been specifically designed for the Russian Air Force with better survey equipment. Russia reportedly has 26 such aircraft.

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