Russian nuclear bombers fly near North Korea

Dhaka,  Sun,  24 September 2017
Published : 25 Aug 2017, 22:09:09
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Russian nuclear bombers fly near North Korea

Russian nuclear bombers fly near North Korea
SEOUL, Aug 25 (Reuters): Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers have flown a rare mission around the Korean Peninsula at the same time as the United States and South Korea conduct joint military exercises that have infuriated Pyongyang.

Russia, which has said it is strongly against any unilateral US military action on the peninsula, said Tupolev-95MS bombers, code named "Bears" by NATO, had flown over the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea, prompting Japan and Seoul to scramble jets to escort them.

The flight, which also included planes with advanced intelligence gathering capabilities, was over international waters and was announced by the Russian Defence Ministry on the same day as Moscow complained about the US-South Korean war games.

"The US and South Korea holding yet more large-scale military and naval exercises does not help reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula," Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, told a news briefing in Moscow.

"We urge all sides to exercise maximum caution. Given the arms build-up in the region, any rash move or even an unintended incident could spark a military conflict."

The United States and South Korea began the long-planned joint military exercises on Monday, heightening tensions with Pyongyang which called the drills a "reckless" step towards nuclear conflict.

Some military experts regard the hulking Russian turboprop bombers which made the flight near the Korean Peninsula as a relic of the Cold War. But Russia has upgraded the aircraft since the Soviet fall and, since 2007, has used the planes to back its diplomacy with shows of force and to probe other countries' airspaces.

Moscow said the bombers had been accompanied by Sukhoi-35S fighter jets and A-50 early warning and control aircraft.

The A-50s, the Russian equivalent of the Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft, are designed to track aerial and ground targets at a long range, among other capabilities.
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