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Russian strategic bombers go on patrol mission over Atlantic Ocean

April 15, 2015, 5:06 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Last month Russia held a surprise combat readiness check of the country’s Armed Forces, which also involved Air Force strategic bombers

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MOSCOW, April 15. /TASS/. Two Russian strategic bombers Tu-95MS (NATO reporting name: Bear) accomplished on Tuesday mission on air patrol over the neutral waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday.

"The flight route stretched over the neutral waters of the Barents and Norwegian Seas and the Atlantic Ocean," he said. "The crews of Tu-95MS had refueling in the air provided by Ilyushin Il-78 (NATO reporting name: Midas) aerial refueling tanker. The flight duration was over 15 hours."

He added that Russian Air Force MiG-31 fighters (NATO reporting name Foxhounds) escorted the two strategic bombers on patrol.

"At certain stretches of the flight route the bombers were also accompanied by [British] Royal Air Force Typhoon fighters and Danish Air Force F-16 fighters," Konashenkov added.

Earlier, British media reported that UK fighters took off to intercept two Russian bombers, which approached British airspace. The area was not specified.

Konashenkov said that the Russian aircraft conducted scheduled flights near Britain and did not violate the country’s airspace.

"Our aircraft acted totally in the framework of international regulations without violating anything. They call it interception and we call it escort. It’s normal world practice. Our planes did not violate any rules. They were just joined by British aircraft, which escorted them and flew back," Konashenkov told the Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei radio station on Tuesday night.

In February, strategic bombers Tu-95MS conducted flights over the Barents and Norwegian Seas, as well as over the north-eastern part of the Atlantic.

In particular, they drilled re-fuelling operations in the air. It was reported earlier that Russian bombers were accompanied by British Typhoon fighter jets in February’s flights.

Last month Russia held a surprise combat readiness check of the country’s Armed Forces, which also involved Air Force strategic bombers. Russia’s strategic command and staff exercises and a surprise check of troops’ combat readiness kicked off on March 16 and ended on March 21.

The surprise check started with Russia’s Northern Fleet, units and formations of its Western Military District and the Airborne Force and subsequently extended to troops in other Russian regions. It involved 80,000 troops, 10,000 pieces of military hardware, 65 combat ships, 15 submarines and over 200 aircraft and helicopters.

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