Russia’s long-haul bombers will start regular patrol missions to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico from the Arctic Ocean which is being perceived as a show of muscle reflecting tensions with the West over Ukraine.
Recently, the statement of NATO’s chief commander was quickly rejected by Russia when he accused Moscow of sending new troops and tanks into Ukraine.
If the tensions over Ukraine remains as is, it would require Russia also beef up its forces against the West in the Crimea. Crimea is a peninsula near Black Sea that Russia annexed earlier this year in March.
Russia seems committed to increase pace and duration of flights despite the fact that it would require stronger and faster maintenance efforts for which relevant directives have been issued as in media.
Russia’s bombers are nuclear-capable which are on regular patrolling across the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans during Cold War times. In the past, the post-Soviet money crunch forced the military to cut back. These bomber patrol flights have resumed under President Vladimir Putin’s tenure.
Russia plans to expand its worldwide military presence for which it needs permission for navy ships to use ports in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere for replenishing supplies and doing maintenance. Russian military is in talks with Algeria, Cyprus, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, Seychelles, Vietnam and Singapore.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russia was also discussing with some countries about allowing long-range bombers to use their air bases for refueling.
Ian Kearns, director of the European Leadership Network, a London-based think tank, said the bomber patrols were part of Kremlin’s efforts to make the Russian military “more visible and more assertive in its actions.”
He further said: The new bomber flights “aren’t necessarily presaging a threat,”. “They are just part of a general ramping-up of activities.”
Source: Yahoo News