Two Russian strategic Tu-160 bombers flew on neutral waters near the Arctic with support from MiG-31 fighter jets, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
“Two strategic Tu-160 bombers made a planned flight over the neutral waters of the Barents, Norway and North Sea basins. Aviation support for the long-range aircraft was provided by the MiG-31 fighter crews,” said the Russian Defense in a statement, explaining that the exercise lasted more than 14 hours.
During the flight, according to the ministry, Russian aircraft “received the company” (interception) of Royal Air Force aircraft from the United Kingdom, Eurofighter Typhoon and F-16, although they have not violated the airspace of any country.
According to the British Defense, however, their aircraft only monitored the Russian bombers approaching the airspace of the United Kingdom and, although no violation occurred, they decided to escort the aircraft to the north.
“Russian long-range bombers Blackjacks [Tu-160] were not responding to air traffic control, making them a danger to all other aircraft,” the British authorities said in explaining the situation.
This comes as relations between Russia and the UK remain tense as the Eurasian Giant is not adhering to the wishes by Western imperialist powers. Points of conflict between Russia and the UK stem from Russia’s successes in Crimea and Syria, and most recently the UK’s claims that Moscow is responsible for a string of novichok poisoning cases in southern England.
Despite this hostility, Russia continues to modernize its military so that it can ward off aggression from imperialist powers, such that it can continue its rise into a world superpower. The UK, a monarchy that for decades has not been a major superpower, is trying to prevent the rise of Russia despite all the advantages the resource rich state can bring to the UK, a traditional economic powerhouse that is suffering a recession.