RUSSIA has flown two supersonic “Blackjack” nuclear bombers close to the UK in a warning to the West.
It comes just hours after Vladimir Putin deployed his strategic aircraft over the Bering Sea – near to US airspace.
2Two Tu-160 strategic missile carriers flew close to the UKCredit: east2westThe moves are seen as a warning to the West as Russia prepares to mark the first anniversary of the disastrous war in Ukraine on February 24.
The giant Tu-160 White Swan flights come amid ominous warnings from the Putin regime and its propagandists over the use of nuclear weapons if he loses the conventional war.
Two planes patrolled the Norwegian and Barents Sea in a 13-hour mission which included in-flight fuelling, the Russian defence ministry said.
It said: “Two Tu-160 strategic bombers have performed a scheduled flight in the airspace above neutral waters of the Barents and Norwegian seas.”
The flight comes after two of Russia’s Tu-95 “Bear” bombers flew near Alaska accompanied by 30 Russian fighter jets on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, fighter jets were scrambled by NATO to intercept three Russian military aircraft in dramatic scenes close to the Polish border.
The Tu-160 – NATO reporting name Blackjack – Russian supersonic variable-sweep wing strategic missile-carrying bomber dating from the Soviet era.
Along with the Tu-95MS bombers, these planes are the mainstay of Russia’s long-range aviation.
The Tu-160M is designed to strike enemy targets in remote areas with nuclear and conventional weapons.
Putin is enraged at the West’s supplies of weapons to Ukraine.
His war has cost the lives of more than 100,000 Russians, it is estimated.
Meanwhile, Russia has deployed nuclear-armed warships in the Arctic for the first time in 30 years, according to a new intelligence report.
During the Cold War, ships of the former Soviet Union’s Northern Fleet regularly went to sea with nukes but this is the first time modern Russia has done the same.
Russia’s redeployment was announced by the Norwegian Intelligence Service in its annual report.
“The key part of the nuclear potential is on the submarines and surface ships of the Northern Fleet,” the Norwegian intelligence report noted.
“The importance of nuclear weapons for Russia has increased significantly” since the start of the war in Ukraine.”
The Northern Fleet has responsibility for the Arctic and is based in the port of Severomorsk.
Russia has been conducing tests of the Zircon hypersonic missile, which is nuclear-capable, in the Arctic’s Barents Sea using the guided missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov.
The Kremlin has in recent years “significantly increased” its military presence in the Arctic Circle since Putin invaded Ukraine, Britain has said.
2Russian Tu-95MS flew ‘neutral waters’ on a ‘planned’ mission on Tuesday, according to MoscowCredit: Will Stewart
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk