MOSCOW, September 21. /TASS/. Russia’s Tu-22M3 long-range bombers performed flights over the Baltic and Norwegian Seas on Wednesday and were escorted by US, Belgian, Finnish and Swedish fighter jets at some stages of the route, the Defense Ministry said.
"On September 20, 2017, crews of Tu-22M3 long-range bombers made scheduled flights over the neutral waters of the Baltic and Norwegian Seas. Training flights of crews of the Long-Range Aviation were performed in line with the plan for combat training events in summer 2017," the ministry said.
Over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea at some stages of the flight route "a pair of aircraft of the Long-Range Aviation was escorted by fighter jets F-16 of the Belgian Air Force, F-18 of the Finnish Air Force, F-15 of the US Air Force and JAS-39 of the Swedish Air Force during 70 minutes."
"While performing a flight over the neutral waters of the Norwegian Sea, another pair of Tu-22M3 was escorted by F-16 fighter jets of the US Air Force during 27 minutes at some stages of the route," the ministry said.
The flights of Tu-22M3, a modification of the TU-22M "Backfire," were made in strict compliance with the international rules of using airspace without violating the borders of other countries, the ministry stressed. Pilots of Russia’s Long-Range Aviation regularly perform training flights over neutral waters of the Atlantic, the Arctic, the Black Sea and the Pacific Ocean, it said.