Putin taunts US with Russian nuclear ‘Bear’ bomber flypast day afte…

Russian pundit discusses possible ‘strike’ against London

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Russia has taunted the US in a flyover that saw Moscow parade its nuclear-capable Tu-95 “Bear” bombers close to North American airspace. Footage from the skies above Alaska reportedly shows the missile carriers as they pass over what Russian officials claimed were “neutral waters”. The two planes were flanked by 30 Russian fighter jets as they inched closer to the US just days after the country deployed aircraft to dispatch unidentified objects in its airspace.

A video and pictures released by the Kremlin claim to show the Tu-95s conducting their Valentine’s Day exercise.

One image shows the planes preparing for night-time takeoff, while another shows them flying above the clouds.

The Russian Ministry of Defence released the pictures, with others showing the view of the bomber as it expels a trail of exhaust.

The ministry also released a statement claiming the planes regularly flew the “neutral” route.

The statement read: “Two Tu-95MS strategic missile carriers of the Russian Aerospace Forces completed a planned flight over the neutral waters of the Bering Sea.”

The statement added: “Long-range aviation pilots regularly fly over the neutral waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Black and Baltic Seas.”

“All flights of aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces are carried out in strict accordance with the International Rules for the Use of Airspace.”

While the flights have become increasingly commonplace in recent years – even before the war in Ukraine – Russia’s presence comes during heightened tensions in the US.

US Air Force (USAF) pilots and their Canadian counterparts have shot down unidentified objects in their respective airspaces.

Officials announced planes shot down the fourth “high altitude” object over Lake Huron, Michigan, at 2.42pm on Monday.

The US government has remained tight-lipped on the operations but has claimed high-altitude balloons are part of China’s armed forces.

John Kirby, the national security council coordinator for strategic communications, said in a news conference that the country needs to better understand the country’s intelligence gathering.

He told reporters: “We were able to determine that China has a high-altitude balloon programme for intelligence that’s connected to the People’s Liberation Army.”

Mr Kirby said the objects shot down over North America were flying at altitudes “considerably lower” than the Chinese high-altitude balloon shot down last week.

While they weren’t a military threat, they did pose issues for “civilian commercial air traffic”, he added.

The official said: “And while we have no specific reason to suspect that they were conducting surveillance of any kind, we couldn’t rule that out.”

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