Russia says its strategic bombers flew over neutral waters near Japan

Moscow, Apr 19 (EFE).- The Russian defense ministry said Wednesday that its eight Tu-22M3 strategic bombers carried out a patrol mission over neutral waters of the Okhotsk and Japan seas.

Besides carrying out a patrol, the long-range bombers provided support to the Russian Pacific Fleet during military exercises underway since last Friday, a defense ministry statement said.

The statement that all flights of the strategic aircraft were carried out strictly according to international laws on using airspace over neutral waters, “without violating the borders of other states.”

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Monday said more than 25,000 troops, 167 warships, and logistics vessels were involved in the Pacific Fleet naval exercises since April 14.

Some 12 submarines, 89 planes, and helicopters are also taking part in the drill.

Shoigu said the objective of the drills was “to build up the armed forces’ ability to solve the tasks of repelling the aggression of a potential enemy from the direction of ocean and sea.”

He said the exercise would “evaluate the state and increase the readiness of military command, troops, and forces to undertake missions in all strategic directions.”

He said it was necessary to keep the forces ready for preventing “the enemy from deploying in the operationally important region of the Pacific Ocean — the southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk” and repulse an enemy landing in the southern Kuril Islands and Sakhalin Island.

The dispute over four Kuril islands, whose sovereignty Japan claims, has prevented Moscow and Tokyo from signing a peace agreement that would put an end to a conflict dating back to World War II. EFE


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