Russian nuclear-capable bombers patrol over Belarus, as Minsk's standoff with Poland intensifies (VIDEO)
Two Russian Tu-160 supersonic bombers took a spin in the skies over Belarus, on Thursday, as Poland amassed troops on the border and threatened an armed response to a standoff involving thousands of Middle Eastern asylum seekers.
The Russian Defense Ministry published a video of the sleek bombers carrying out their patrol, noting that they were accompanied by an Su-30SM of the Belarus Air Force, demonstrating a high level of interoperability between the two Collective Security Treaty Organization allies. The mission took four hours and 36 minutes, and the bombers traveled more than 3,000km.
While the military downplayed the overflight as a routine operation, Russia’s deputy UN envoy Dmitry Polyanskiy told reporters in New York that the patrol was “a response to the growing military presence on the Poland-Belarus border.”
Warsaw deployed over 15,000 troops to the frontier this week, as thousands of migrants from the Middle East attempted to cross over from Belarus and claim asylum. Poland and the EU have accused Minsk of “weaponizing” the refugees and called the attempted crossing a form of “hybrid warfare.”
Russia and Belarus have a union treaty that carries certain obligations, Polyanskiy noted.
If there is an accumulation of military forces on the border with Belarus, we are forced to react.
The Tupolev Tu-160, known in Russia as ‘White Swan’ and by NATO as ‘Blackjack’, is the world’s largest, heaviest, and fastest bomber, capable of reaching Mach 2 speeds. It can carry 45,000kg (99,208lb) of ordnance, including conventional cruise missiles as well as nuclear-tipped rockets.
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