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Moscow is challenging NATO with strategic fighters and bombers flying just outside the Atlantic alliance’s borders

Moscow is challenging NATO with strategic fighters and bombers flying just outside the Atlantic alliance's borders

Two Tu-95MS long-range strategic bombers completed a four-hour flight over the international waters of the Barents and Norwegian Seas, accompanied by Su-30SM fighters performing escort duties, the Defense Ministry reported, in what appears to be a clear show of force by the Kremlin and a Provocation against the Western powers. Putin’s message is clear: Show the whole world his air force’s ability to cooperate and prepare.

The area the planes flew over is the same area where two other Tu-95s flew early last year, supported by MiG-31 fighter jets from the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet. In this case, the action was denounced by the British Air Force, which deployed several Eurofighter fighter jets after military authorities discovered “unidentified aircraft” near northern Scotland.

According to Moscow’s official statement, “two Tu-95MS long-range strategic missile aircraft conducted a scheduled flight in the airspace over the international waters of the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea.” The total duration of the vehicles’ flight was about four hours, a long time that the neighboring countries disturbed, as was the geographical choice, which refers to a sensitive and strategic area.

“The fighters were escorted by the crews of Su-30SM aircraft of the Aerospace Forces,” the Russian government reported. According to the commander of long-range aviation, Lieutenant General Sergei Kobylash, the above-mentioned flight was carried out in strict compliance with international standards for the use of airspace. “Long-haul pilots regularly fly over the international waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, Black and Baltic Seas and the Pacific Ocean,” Kobylash emphasized.

The Tu-95MS is a large four-engine strategic bomber powered by a turboprop. His involvement in this operation is a clear demonstration of military force. The aircraft in question is also capable of transporting large loads over long distances. The Su-30 are fourth or generation 4+ multirole fighters developed by Sukhoi Corporation. They are designed to carry out a wide range of missions, from deep defense in enemy territory (Su-30SM) to ground attack (Su-30SM2), from patrol to armed escort. They feature a two-seat configuration, which allows them to also act as aircraft command for wing pilots and other friendly aircraft.

The Barents Sea, off the northern coast of Norway and Russia, is known for its rich resources and has been the subject of territorial disputes. The Norwegian Sea, which borders the Barents Sea, is an important route for shipping in the North Atlantic and a site for extensive oil and gas exploration. Moscow’s advance into these seas is clear evidence that the Kremlin may be encroaching on sensitive locations.

Russia considers strategic bombers, along with ballistic missiles and nuclear-armed submarines, to be the three pillars of its nuclear strategy.

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