Two Tupolev Tu-160 Russian supersonic long-range nuclear bombers conducted drills in an area near Alaska "for the first time in history," demonstrating that Russia can deploy heavy bombers close to the United States, the Russian Ministry of Defense revealed Thursday.
The Tu-160 bombers, which can carry six standard cruise missiles and 12 short-range nuclear missiles and fly at speeds greater than two times the speed of sound, were accompanied by Tu-95MS strategic bombers and Il-78 tankers during the exercises, according to The Moscow Times. A total of ten Russian aircraft reportedly participated in the drills.
The Tu-160 bombers reportedly flew more than 4,000 miles from their home base in Saratov in southwestern Russia to Anadyr on the Chukotka Peninsula, which faces Alaska across the Bering Strait, the Associated Press reported.
Under the command of Lieutenant-General Sergei Kobylash, the bombers practiced striking targets at Komi range before taking off across the Arctic Ocean. The two aircraft crews refueled in mid-air and then returned to their home base.
While the latest flight was the first time Tu-160 bombers, production of which was restarted to boost foreign patrols in response to an increase in regional tensions, have ventured close to Alaska, it is not the first time Russian bombers have done so.
In May, two U.S. Air Force F-22 stealth fighter jets intercepted two Tupolev Tu-95 Russian nuclear-capable bombers that came within 55 miles of Alaska's west coast, The Washington Free Beacon first reported. The bomber flights announced Thursday come amid escalating tensions between the US and Russia.
GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under threat by Iran.
Worries about a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane at the entrance to the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents.
Tehran denies responsibility but the attacks, and similar ones in May, have further soured relations that have plummeted since Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018.
Trump has restored and extended U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. That has forced countries around the world to boycott Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
But in an interview with Time magazine, Trump, striking a different tone from some Republican lawmakers who have urged a military approach to Iran, said last week's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman had only a "very minor" impact so far.
Asked if he would consider military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or to ensure the free flow of oil through the Gulf, Trump said: "I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark."
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he is appalled by a state DFL Party staff member's tweet referring to the recently-launched USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul as a "murder boat."
"Certainly, the disrespect shown is beyond the pale," said Walz, who served in the Army National Guard.
William Davis, who has been the DFL Party's research director and deputy communications director, made the controversial comment in response to a tweet about the launch of a new Navy combat ship in Wisconsin: "But actually, I think it's gross they're using the name of our fine cities for a murder boat," Davis wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
TAMPA — Minutes before the Acting Secretary of Defense withdrew Tuesday from his confirmation process, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at MacDill Air Force Base about the need to coordinate "diplomatic and defense efforts'' to address rising tensions with Iran.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government's efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."