Russia's Strategic Aviation Holds Tactical Exercises In Arctic
A Tu-160 Blackjack.
Russian expedition planted Abkhazia flag on Arctic seabed
Moscow/Sukhumi, August 8 (RIA Novosti) - The flags Russia planted on the seabed under the North Pole included an Abkhazian flag, as the self-proclaimed republic of Georgia helped organize the expedition, the mission leader said Wednesday. "An Abkhazian representative, Dmitry Purim, was a member of our expedition," said Artur Chilingarov, also a Russian member of parliament. "He raised the flag of the republic." Russia's relations with Abkhazia have angered Georgian authorities who are seeking to regain control over the unrecognized republic. Georgia has accused Russia of fuelling separatist sentiments in Abkhazia. Chilingarov said tens of other flags representing different regions and organizations involved in the expedition had been hoisted in the area almost simultaneously. Last Thursday, Russian researchers made the first-ever dive below the North Pole in two mini-submarines, taking rock samples from the seabed to gather proof that Russia's continental shelf stretches out from Siberia into the Arctic across the Pole, and thereby claim the resource-rich territory.
by Staff Writers
Moscow, Russia (RIA Novosti) Aug 09, 2007
Russia's strategic aviation started Wednesday an active phase of military exercises to fly over the North Pole and conduct test launches of cruise missiles, an Air Force spokesman said. During the active phase, four Tu-160 Blackjack, 12 Tu-95 Bear-H strategic bombers, and 14 Tu-22 Backfire-C theater bombers will conduct simulated bombing raids, and more than ten cruise missile launches at the Pemboi range near Vorkuta [in Russia's Arctic], and fly over the North Pole, the Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans.
"On Wednesday, Tu-160 and Tu-95 bombers conducted eight successful [test] launches of cruise missiles at designated targets in northern Russia," Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky said, adding that the planes made over 40 sorties throughout the day.
The Russian aircraft were closely monitored by NATO fighters during the missions.
The spokesman said six long-range aviation regiments were involved in the exercise to practice interaction with fighter aircraft, air refueling, and overcoming enemy air defenses.
Units of the 37th Air Army of the Strategic Command will conduct a total of six tactical exercises in August as part of an annual training program, the Defense Ministry earlier said in a statement.
According to various sources, the Russian Air Force currently deploys 141 Tu-22M3 bombers, 40 Tu-95MS bombers, and 14 Tu-160 planes.
Source: RIA Novosti