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18 Aug, 2007 09:01

Russia resumes flights of strategic bombers

Russia has resumed regular long-range missions of strategic bombers over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It stopped strategic flights 15 years ago. Now the situation has changed and Russia once again needs the flights for reasons of security.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced the decision to restore the flights on a regular basis on the final day of a joint anti-terrorism military exercise with China and four Central Asian countries on Friday.
“Russia unilaterally stopped its patrols in 1992. Unfortunately not everyone followed our example. This creates a security risk for Russia. At midnight 14 strategic bombers took off from 7 different airfields throughout Russia. We hope our partners show understanding towards our resumption of strategic aircraft patrols,” stated Russian President.

The flights of strategic bombers were suspended in 1992, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"We are certainly not in the kind of posture we were with what used to be the Soviet Union. If Russia feels as though they want to take some of these old aircraft out of mothballs and get them flying again, that’s their decision,

Sean McCormack, U.S. State Department’s spokesperson

On Friday, 14 strategic bombers, support aircraft and aerial tankers were deployed.

In total 20 aircraft are involved in the flights.

Meanwhile, Washington doesn't see the announcement as a return to the Cold War stand-off.