Tags: nuclear | russia | ukraine | bombers

Nuclear-Capable Russian Bombers Spotted Near Finland

By    |   Saturday, 01 October 2022 12:05 PM EDT

ImageSat International (ISI), an Israeli intelligence firm, has spotted an "irregular presence" of Russian TU-95 and TU-160 bombers deployed at the Olenya air base, which sits roughly 100 miles from the Finnish-Russian border, The Jerusalem Post reports.

The Russian bombers, capable of carrying strategic nuclear weapons, have been active in Moscow's war with Ukraine since February. Still, since that time, the Russian Air Force has struggled to maintain air superiority in Ukraine after losing numerous aircraft.

But the timing of the planes situating near Finland's border comes weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West that a pushed-back Russia would deploy nuclear weapons. Additionally, satellite images of the Russian bombers have come as Ukraine announced it would be requesting an expedited application review for entry into NATO.

On Sept. 21, Putin gave a speech announcing that Moscow would pull 300,000 Russians into conscription while warning NATO of nuclear deployment.

"I am speaking not only of the Western-sponsored shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which poses a threat of nuclear catastrophe, but also of the statements made by some senior officials of leading NATO countries on whether it is possible and permissible to use weapons of mass destruction — nuclear weapons — against Russia," Putin said, according to a translation.

"I would like to remind those who dare to make such statements about Russia that our country also has various means of destruction, some of which are more advanced than those of the NATO countries.

"Of course, if the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all means at our disposal to defend Russia and our people.

"This is not a bluff," Putin added.

According to data released in the 2020 New START arms reduction treaty between Moscow and Washington, Russia has 1,447 strategic warheads with the capability to deploy "many more than 1,550 warheads on its modernized [intercontinental ballistic missiles] and [submarine-launched ballistic missiles], as well as heavy bombers, but is constrained from doing so by New START."

The Olenya air base holds an immense strike capacity, the deployment of which would send a signal to the United States and NATO. Additionally, the air base is out of range from attacks from Ukrainian forces, which have been targeting Russian air bases with weapons supplied by the U.S. and NATO.

In an interview with The Guardian on Tuesday, Ukraine's military spokesman Vadym Skibitsky said the threat of Moscow using nukes against Ukraine was "very high."

According to Skibitsky, an attack would likely target locations near the front lines where there are a high number of people, equipment, command hubs and vital infrastructure.

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ImageSat International (ISI), an Israeli intelligence firm, has spotted an "irregular presence" of Russian TU-95 and TU-160 bombers deployed at the Olenya air base, which sits roughly 100 miles from the Finnish-Russian border, The Jerusalem Post reports.
nuclear, russia, ukraine, bombers
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2022-05-01
Saturday, 01 October 2022 12:05 PM
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