Russian long-range bombers Tu-22M3 flew over the Baltic and Norwegian seas on Wednesday. At separate stages of the route they were accompanied by fighters of the USA, Belgium, Finland and Sweden, said the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation reported on Thursday.
“On September 20, 2017, crews of Tu-22M3 long-range bombers carried out scheduled flights over neutral waters of the Baltic and Norwegian Seas water areas, training flights of long-range aviation crews were carried out in accordance with the plan of combat training activities in the summer training period of 2017,” the ministry said.
According to the agency, over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea at certain stages of the flight route, “a pair of long-range aircraft was accompanied by F-16 fighter aircraft of Belgium, F-18 of the Finnish Air Force, F-15 of the US Air Force and JAS-39 of the Swedish Air Force for about 70 minutes.” “Another pair of Tu-22M3, flying over the neutral waters of the Norwegian Sea, was accompanied by F-16 fighters of the US Air Force during certain stages of the route,” the Defense Ministry added.
The Tu-22M3 flights, the Russian Defense Ministry stressed, were carried out in strict accordance with international rules for the use of airspace without violating the borders of other states. Long-range aviation pilots regularly fly over neutral waters of the Atlantic, Arctic, Black Sea, the Pacific Ocean, the Ministry noted.