by WorldTribune Staff, August 25, 2017
Russia flew nuclear-capable strategic bombers and planes with advanced intelligence gathering capabilities near the Korean peninsula this week while the U.S. and South Korea were conducting war games.
Japan and South Korea scrambled fighter jets to escort the Russian Tupolev-95MS bombers, according to an Aug. 24 Reuters report.
Russia has voiced its opposition to any U.S. unilateral military action on the peninsula. North Korea has repeatedly threatened the U.S. and South Korea over the war games, which began on Aug. 21.
The Tupolev-95MS bombers, code named “Bears” by NATO, had flown over the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea, the Reuters report said.
Moscow said the bombers had been accompanied by Sukhoi-35S fighter jets and A-50 early warning and control aircraft. The A-50s, the Russian equivalent of the Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS, are designed to track aerial and ground targets at a long range, among other capabilities.
The flight of the aircraft was over international waters and was announced by the Russian Defense Ministry the same day Moscow complained about the U.S.-South Korean war games.
“The U.S. and South Korea holding yet more large-scale military and naval exercises does not help reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula,” Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, told a news briefing in Moscow.
“We urge all sides to exercise maximum caution. Given the arms build-up in the region, any rash move or even an unintended incident could spark a military conflict.”