Russia Deploys Nuclear-Capable Bombers Near Korea

Thursday, August 24, 2017
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Aug 24, 2017

With the U.S. periodically sending the occasional sortie of B1 bombers, accompanied by South Korean fighters, over the Korean peninsula to simulate what a (very fast) war with Pyongyang would look like, the airspace over the biggest geopolitical hotspot in the world today just got a little hotter after Russia deployed nuclear-capable strategic bombers over the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea, prompting Japan and South Korea to scramble jets to escort them, Reuters reported.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement the Tupolev-95MS “Bear” bombers, flew over neutral waters and were accompanied by Russian Sukhoi-35S fighter jets and A-50 early warning and control aircraft. The Russians gave no details about the overall number of aircraft that had taken part in what it called “scheduled flights over neutral waters” and did not say when or why the mission took place.

The TU-95MS bombers were refueled in mid-air during the mission, the ministry said and added that “at certain stages of the flight route, Russian strategic missile carriers were accompanied by aircraft from the Air Force of the Republic of Korea and the Air Self-Defense Forces of Japan,” the ministry said, Russian news agency TASS reported. It did not specify how many aircraft were involved or when the mission took place.

Escalating matters, South Korea’s Yonhap reported that the Russians violated South Korea’s air defense identification zone, known as KADIZ, but did not enter the country’s airspace on Wednesday.

“As the Russian aircraft entered the KADIZ in formation yesterday morning, a squadron of our Air Force jets made an emergency sorties,” an official speaking on conditions of anonymity told Yonhap. As Newsweek adds, “unlike a country’s airspace, an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) is not a concept enshrined in international law. A country may declare an ADIZ unilaterally, as a way to require foreign military aircraft to identify themselves and their plans.”

While the Japanese have not yet commented on the incident, they aren’t unaccustomed to Russian bombers flying around their airspace. Japan scrambled its fighter jets in April to head off six Russian military planes—including two TU-95 bombers—that flew across the Pacific and over the Sea of Japan before returning to Russia following a course over Japan’s island of Hokkaido, without violating Japan’s airspace.

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