Putin scrambles nuclear bomber planes in ‘war game’ ahead of NATO summit

7 July 2023, 20:20 | Updated: 7 July 2023, 20:29

The nuclear bombers were deployed for drills.
The nuclear bombers were deployed for drills. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Vladimir Putin has deployed two nuclear bomber planes on drills as part of a 'war game mission' ahead of a vital NATO summit in Lithuania next week.

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Two supersonic White Swan Tu-160 nuclear bomber planes were sent into the airfield of Sovetskiy in the west of Russia on Friday, ahead of a NATO summit set to take place in Lithuania next week.

Russia shared videos of the Tu-160 doing drills, the Tu-160 White Swan is a Russian supersonic plane that carries bombers and dates back to the Soviet era.

They flew more than 5,600 miles over the course of the 'war game' mission.

The planes are regularly deployed in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea.

It comes as a warning to NATO as Russia continues to threaten the use of nuclear missiles.

A summit is set to take place in Vilnius next week, with the aim of reaffirming support in the West for Kyiv and also edging Ukraine towards membership of the 74-year-old defence alliance.

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Lt-Gen Sergey Kobylash, commander of Russian long-range aviation said the operation involved “more than 10 Tu-160, Tu-95MS, and Il-78 aircraft.”

“Despite performing combat tasks during the special military operation [war against Ukraine], all planned combat training activities are being carried out in full,” according to the Daily Mail.

“The flight and tactical exercises of aviation regiments of the Engels and Amur long-range aviation formations were launched.”

Kobylash added: "A pair of strategic missile-carrying Tu-95MS planes landed at the airfield of Anadyr in the Chukotka Autonomous Area and strategic missile-carrying airplanes Tu-160 landed at the airfield of Sovetskiy in the Komi Republic."

Meanwhile, Sergey Chemezov, who is general director of Rostec State Corporation, said: "The Tu-160 is the most important part of the Russian nuclear triad, so the modernisation of combat vehicles and the resumption of production of these strategic bombers is our priority task."

Russia has boasted in the past about the vital role the Tu-160 plays in its nuclear fleet.

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