Russian Strategic Bombers Circle Around U.S. Territory

| by Lisa Fogarty

It feels like the 1980s all over again.

Russian strategic bombers have reportedly conducted no fewer than 16 incursions into northwestern U.S. air defense identification zones over the past 10 days, reports the Washington Free Beacon.

The Tu-95 Russian Bear H heavy bombers have been spotted, along with several Tu-142 Bear F maritime reconnaissance aircraft and one Russian intelligence-gathering jet, near Alaska and along the West Coast.

But Maj. Beth Smith, spokeswoman for U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, says Russia’s “spike in activity” represented little more than routine training missions.

“Over the past week, NORAD has visually identified Russian aircraft operating in and around the U.S. air defense identification zones,” Smith revealed.

But some sources, including Bill Gertz, who first broke this story, say President Vladimir Putin’s actions are just one of the ways in which they are hinting at possible future nuclear activity. Recently, Russia famously violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987, which was signed by Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev, when it tested a nuclear cruise missile, reports BBC News.

In May, the country also reportedly conducted several nuclear war games in Japan and Korea, according to Admiral Cecil Haney, head of US Strategic Command. Haney said:

Russia continues to modernize its strategic capabilities across all legs of its triad, and open source [reporting] has recently cited the sea trials of its latest [missile submarine] testing of its newest air-launched cruise missile and modernization of its intercontinental ballistic force to include its mobile capability in that area.

Moscow denies the allegations that it has violated the 27-year-old treaty.

Sources: The Washington Free Beacon, BBC News

Photo Credit: Andrey Belenko/Flickr, Wikipedia