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Russian Strategic Bombers To Continue Patrolling Missions

Russia says its long-range bombers will continue patrolling various parts of the world in the future and may extend the flights into additional regions.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on March 2, "Such flights are performed regularly, and we are not planning to abandon this practice."

Shoigu added that Russia will "explore new combat patrolling areas in the future" for its strategic bombers, taking into account "international cooperation with our allies in other regions of the world."

He also said Russia will modernize 13 strategic -- or long-range -- aircraft this year.

By 2020, he said, some 70 percent of the fleet would be modernized.

NATO-member country planes have intercepted Russian aircraft many times in the past year amid heightened tensions between Moscow and the West over Russia's interferemce in Ukraine.

Russia has also staged a series of drills that have alarmed its post-Soviet neighbors and the West.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS