Russian bombers have resumed Cold War-style long-haul missions to areas patrolled by NATO and the United States, top Russian generals said Thursday.
A Russian bomber flew over a U.S. naval base on the Pacific island of Guam on Wednesday and "exchanged smiles" with U.S. pilots who had scrambled to track it, said Major General Pavel Androsov, head of long-range aviation in the Russian Air Force.
President Vladimir Putin has sought to make Russia more assertive. He has increased defense spending and sought to raise morale in the armed forces, which were starved of funding after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The bombers give Russia the capability of making a nuclear strike, even if the nuclear arsenals on its own territory are wiped out.
During the Cold War, Soviet pilots played elaborate airborne games of cat and mouse with Western air forces.
The current state of Russia's economy, which is booming for the eighth year in a row, has allowed Russia to finance such flights, said Safranchuk of the World Security Institute. Source...