Alwaght- The United States and Russia have flown their strategic nuclear bombers over the Norwegian Sea, amid rising between the two Cold War-era arch foes over a landmark nuclear arms treaty.
Tensions between Washington and Moscow have also been exacerbated by the build-up of NATO military forces on the US-led alliance’s eastern flank near Russia.
The US Air Force Europe said in a statement that five giant B-52 bombers had flown over the Norwegian Sea on Thursday and that the planes had continued towards Iceland.
“During the flights, five B-52s conducted training with Norwegian F-16 fighter jets,” the statement said. “Training with NATO allies like Norway enhances the capabilities and readiness of the alliance.”
TheRussian Defense Ministry’s press service said on Friday that, "Two Tu-160 strategic bombers have performed a planned flight above the neutral waters of the Barents, Norwegian and North seas." The ministry added that the planes were accompanied by MiG-31 supersonic interceptor aircraft.
"At certain stretches of the route, the Russian planes were accompanied by F-16 fighter jets of the Danish Air Force and Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force," the ministry said.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the flight lasted more than 134 hours, so the planes were refueled.
Meanwhile, the UK Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the Royal Air Force (RAF) Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon fighter aircraft scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth base, and a Voyager air-to-air refueling tanker - from Brize Norton base, "to monitor two Russian Blackjacks approaching UK airspace."
In February US President Donald Trump announced US withdrawal from the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). In early March, President Vladimir Putin followed and signed a decree suspending Russia’s participation in the nuclear arms treaty.