Home World Russian ‘nuclear bombers’ intercepted by Japanese warplanes as Pacific tensions surge

Russian ‘nuclear bombers’ intercepted by Japanese warplanes as Pacific tensions surge

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Whilst relations between Russia and Japan have improved in recent years the two nations are locked in a dispute over the contested Kuril Islands. Currently, all the islands are controlled by Russian forces but Japan claims the four most southerly ones.

In a statement, the Russian defence ministry said: “Two Tu-95MS strategic bombers of the long-range aviation conducted a routine flight over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan and the north-western part of the Pacific Ocean.

“The duration of the flight exceeded nine hours.

“At certain stages of the flight, the Russian strategic bombers were escorted by the Japanese air force’s F-15 fighters.”

The Tu-95, nicknamed the ‘Bear’ by NATO, entered Soviet service in 1956.

Originally created to carry nuclear bombs it can also hold a range of conventional weapons.

The Russian air force expects the Tu-95 to remain in service until at least the 2040s.

In recent years Russian and Chinese forces have been cooperating with increased regularity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Last December both Japan and South Korea launched fight jets to track a joint Russian-Chinese bomber force which flew into the Sea of Japan.

READ MORE: North Korea warning – WW3 fears sparked as ‘nuclear activity’ spotted

In a statement, the Russian defence ministry insisted the flight wasn’t “directed against any third countries”.

It added the mission was designed to “develop and deepen the comprehensive Russia-China partnership, further increase the level of cooperation between the two militaries, expand their ability for joint action and strengthen strategic stability”.

In October 2020 Russian president Vladimir Putin warned a formal military alliance between Russia and China could be formed.

The two nations had previously talked of their “strategic partnership” but avoided talk of a formal alliance.

Putin also revealed Russia had been sharing advanced military technology with the Chinese.

During a recent Congressional appearance Admiral Philip Davidson, who heads the US Indo-Pacific Command, warned China could attempt to invade Taiwan in the next six years.

Beijing refuses to accept the sovereignty of Taiwan, an island of 23 million and has threatened military action.

Referring to China Admiral Davidson said: “I worry that they’re accelerating their ambitions to supplant the United States and our leadership role in the rules-based international order by 2050.

“Taiwan is clearly one of their ambitions before that.

“I think the threat is manifest during this decade, in fact, in the next six years.”



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