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Russia Responds to ‘Point Blank’ Air Combat Exercises with Tu-142 Anti-Submarine Patrol Flight

Sept. 13, 2020 (EIRNS)—The Russian Northern Fleet announced yesterday that a pair of Tu-142 long-range maritime patrol aircraft flew a mission over the Barents, Norwegian and North Seas. The Russian flight came a day after Exercise “Point Blank,” the massive air combat exercise over the North Sea that involved the RAF, USAF and the Netherlands. According to the official Russian release, “On Sept. 12, two long-range antisubmarine aircraft Tu-142 of the Northern Fleet made scheduled flights over the neutral waters of the Barents, Norwegian and North Seas. The flight lasted over 11 hours.”

The Russians also announced that the Tu-142 flights had been accompanied for part of the route by foreign fighter jets. The U.K. Ministry of Defense also confirmed that RAF Eurofighter Typhoons were scrambled into action after the Tupolev Tu-142 planes “entered the U.K.’s controlled zone of international airspace” off the coast of Scotland, reported the Independent.

The Russian Defense Ministry also announced this morning that exercise Slavic Brotherhood-2020, with Belarus, will kick off tomorrow. “In accordance with the Plan of international activity for 2020, on Sept. 14-25, joint Belarusian-Russian tactical exercises Slavic Brotherhood, which have been held annually since 2015, will be carried out on the Bretsky firing range in the Republic of Belarus,” the ministry said.

The Belarusians have also taken note of the deployment of a U.S. armored battalion in Lithuania to a firing range only 15 km from the border with Belarus. “We cannot help but be alarmed that about 500 people, 29 tanks and 43 Bradley fighting vehicles would be engaged in the vicinity of our border,” Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin said today in a televised interview on STV channel after a meeting with President Aleksandr Lukashenko. “In addition, we see more intensive flights of [NATO] aircraft along our state border and the surveillance of the ongoing developments in our state. We cannot help but be concerned about the flights of B-52 bombers along our state border,” the minister asserted.

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