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Russia Says Bomber Flights Not Return To Cold War

Russian pilots are resuming patrols beyond the country's borders (Courtesy Photo) August 23, 2007 -- Russia says its resumption of the Soviet-era practice of sending strategic bombers on long-range flights does not represent a return to the Cold War.

Russia announced last week that it is resuming regular bomber flights far beyond its borders, a practice that had stopped in 1992.

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov today said that Russia is "flying by the same transparent, understandable rules as our American partners."

Ivanov also said Russia had resumed the bomber flights "so Russian pilots can acquire professional experience, and that there is nothing to worry about."

On August 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the suspension of bomber patrols had affected Russia's security, as other nations had continued such missions, an apparent reference to the United States.

SU-24 Flights Halted After Crash

Meanwhile today, Russia suspended all flights of its smaller SU-24 bombers after one crashed during a training flight in Siberia.

Air Force spokesman Aleksandr Drobyshevsky said both pilots ejected safely over the Far Eastern Khabarovsk region.

An Air Force commission has been formed to determine the cause of the crash.

(AFP, Interfax)

RFE/RL Russia Report

RFE/RL Russia Report

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