PRETORIA, October 23. /TASS/. Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 strategic missile-carrying bombers have arrived in South Africa for the first time.
The strategic bombers landed at the Waterkloof Air Force base close to South Africa’s capital of Pretoria. The bombers are part of the Russian Aerospace Force’s air group, which is visiting South Africa under an agreement on military cooperation signed between the defense ministries of both countries in the summer of 1995.
The Tu-160 bombers spent more than 12 hours to make a flight from their air base in Russia across the airspace of seven African countries and reach the Waterkloof air base in the southernmost part of Africa. Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers have never before stayed on the territory of South Africa. As Spokesperson for the South African Defense Ministry Major Motsamai Mabote told TASS, the arrival of the Russian Aerospace Force’s aircraft is "a premier" for the whole of Africa.
The arrival of the Russian missile-carrying bombers in South Africa coincided with the opening of the first ever Russia-Africa summit in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.
At a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa in Sochi on Wednesday, South Africa’s president stressed that his country was committed to strategic partnership with Russia and counted on expanding ties in very diverse areas.
Apart from the Tu-160 bombers, the Russian Aerospace Force’s air group currently staying in South Africa also includes Il-62 and An-124 ‘Ruslan’ military transport aircraft. The Russian military personnel and experts who have arrived in South Africa will take part in a workshop that will be organized by the South African Defense Ministry. The workshop will discuss the issues of conducting combat operations, carrying out search and rescue measures.