RUSSIA has flown two supersonic “Blackjack” nuclear bombers close to the UK in a warning to the West.
It comes just hours after Vladimir Putin deployed his strategic aircraft over the Bering Sea – very close to US airspace.
The moves are seen as a warning to the West as Russia prepares to mark the first anniversary of the disastrous war in Ukraine on February 24.
The giant Tu-160 White Swan flights come amid ominous warnings from the Putin regime and its propagandists over the use of nuclear weapons if he loses the conventional war.
Two planes patrolled the Norwegian and Barents Sea in a 13-hour mission which included in-flight fuelling, the Russian defence ministry said.
It said: “Two Tu-160 strategic bombers have performed a scheduled flight in the airspace above neutral waters of the Barents and Norwegian seas.”
In a rise in nuclear tension, the Norwegian Intelligence Service announced in its annual report that for the first time in three decades, Russia began deploying ships with tactical atomic weapons in the Baltic Sea.
The nuclear-armed vessels are from Putin’s Northern Fleet, says reports.
The Tu-160 – NATO reporting name Blackjack – Russian supersonic variable-sweep wing strategic missile-carrying bomber dating from the Soviet era.
Along with the Tu-95MS bombers, these planes are the mainstay of Russia’s long-range aviation.
The Tu-160M is designed to strike enemy targets in remote areas with nuclear and conventional weapons.
Putin is enraged at the West’s supplies of weapons to Ukraine.
His war has cost the lives of more than 100,000 Russians, it is estimated.