Russia will hold its largest air force exercises since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union next week, while a naval convoy on its way to Venezuela stages a show of strength in the Mediterranean.
Aircraft including supersonic Tu-160 nuclear bombers, and strategic Tu-95 bombers will take part in the maneuvers Monday through Oct. 12. They'll be in the Russian Far East bordering China and Alaska and in the Volga region, the Defense Ministry said on its Web site Thursday.
The fully armed bombers will launch cruise missiles at targets in sub-Arctic Russia, the first such display since the Soviet era, the Air Force press service said.
Russia has resumed sending strategic bombers to patrol airspace near its neighbors as it asserts its power. Since the conflict with U.S. ally Georgia in August, Russia has dispatched long-range bombers to Venezuela, and warships are heading to the Western Hemisphere for the first time since the Cold War.
“Russia wants to demonstrate its force to the world, particularly the U.S., and show that it has re-emerged as a military power that has global interests and can exercise a global presence,” said Yevgeny Volk, a Moscow-based analyst for U.S. research group, the Heritage Foundation.