Russia to show off bombers and ICBMs at Victory Day parade
Sophisticated military hardware will be paraded during May's Victory Day Parade in Moscow for the first time since the split up of the U.S.S.R, a military official said on Wednesday. Celebrations to mark the end of Russia's participation in WWII are to be held on Red Square on May 9. The victory parade will see a display of the country's most advanced military technology, such as BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, BTR-80 armored personnel carriers, T-90 tanks, Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile mobile launchers, Tu-160 and Tu-95MS strategic bombers. "After a 17-year-long break, the president of Russia took the decision to resume military parades with military hardware," Moscow Military District Commander General Vladimir Bakin said, adding that the Topol-M launchers would not be carrying missiles during the parade. Bakin also said over four thousand fireworks would be launched at the celebrations. The first Victory Parade was held on Red Square on June 24, 1945 on the order of the then-Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Joseph Stalin.
In other news:
Russian bomber again intercepted near U.S. Navy ship
A Russian bomber aircraft approached a U.S. aircraft carrier off the Korean coast on Wednesday and was intercepted by American fighter jets -- the second such incident in less than a month, U.S. defense officials said. According to the U.S. officials, a Russian bomber came within three to five nautical miles and flew 2,000 feet (610 meters) above the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and its accompanying ships. Two U.S. F/A-18 fighters were launched to intercept the Russian aircraft and escort it out of the area, according to one defense official. Russian bombers over the past year have increased their flights near U.S. territory and U.S. naval assets, demonstrating their long-range strike capability. In February, two Russian bombers approached the Nimitz near Japan and one flew over the carrier, escorted by a U.S. fighter jet. That was the first Russian overflight of a U.S. carrier since 2004. Those operations come as Russian officials say they will revive some of the military power and reach allowed to collapse with the Soviet Union. U.S. defense officials on Wednesday said they did not consider the Russian bomber flight a threat or concern.
Russian Bear bombers to hold exercises in Far East
Russian Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers will conduct exercises in Russia's Far East on March 20-22, the Air Force said in a statement on Wednesday. "Crews of an air regiment, equipped with Tu-95MS bombers, will participate in planned flight drills and long-range patrols over the Pacific," the statement said. Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by President Vladimir Putin. The move is widely seen by the West as a sign of Russia's increasingly aggressive military stance. Russian bombers have since carried out over 70 strategic patrol flights. Major-General Pavel Androsov, commander of the Air Force's strategic aviation, flew on Wednesday to the Ukrainka strategic air force base in the Amur Region to oversee the upcoming exercises. He will also oversee exercises of an air squadron of An-30V aerial survey and photography planes on March 23-24 in the Irkutsk Region, the statement said. An-30V is a member of the An-24 family and has been specifically designed for the Russian Air Force with better survey equipment. Russia reportedly has 26 such aircraft.
NATO jets intercept Russian bombers
While on a routine Atlantic patrol, two Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers have found themselves in the unsolicited company of NATO fighters. UPI news agency quoted Russia's RIA Novosti news service as saying, patrolling near Norway, the bombers picked up the uncalled for escort from NATO's F-16 and Tornado fighters. The nationalities of the NATO fighters, which intercepted the bombers on their way home, is yet in question. Such interceptions come as no surprise, as Russian bombers, which, following President Vladimir Putin's order, were tasked with resumption of strategic flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans, have often been accompanied by the alliance's planes ever since. The number of times that the country's bombers find themselves flanked by NATO planes has, however, increased. RIA Novosti added that the patrols were of no ominous nature to other countries, as Russia always gives due prior notification.