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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian strategic bombers conduct patrols over Arctic

RIA Novosti

21/01/2009 17:57 MOSCOW, January 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers carried out on Wednesday regular patrols over the Arctic Ocean, a Russian Air Force spokesman said.

"Two Tu-160 strategic bombers carried out on Wednesday a regular patrol flight over the Norwegian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The crews honed their instrumental flight skills and accomplished several other tasks," Lt. Col. Vladimir Drik said.

During the 12-hour flight, the Russian aircraft were periodically accompanied by NATO F-16 Falcon and Tornado fighters.

"On the same day, two Tu-95MS bombers carried out similar patrols over the Arctic Ocean and near the Aleutian Islands," Drik said.

The bombers were shadowed by U.S. F-15 Eagle fighters during the 10-hour flight.

The spokesman reiterated that all Russian strategic patrols are performed in strict accordance with international rules on the use of airspace over neutral waters, without violating the borders of other states.

The shadowing of Russian warplanes by NATO fighters has been common practice since Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans in August 2007.

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