And that should make everyone a little worried.
Russia plans to fly bomber aircraft in the Arctic this year, according to a senior Russian military official.
During a May 18th interview with a local newspaper, the Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), Sergei Kobylash, commander of the Aerospace Forces’ long-range aviation, said Russia would fly its Tu-160 supersonic strategic bomber in the Arctic. “This year, we plan to fly Tu-160s to Anadyr,” Kobylash said in Sputnik News. He added: “The Arctic is of strategic importance to us and we have been exploring new airfields and other ways of beefing up security on the maritime border.”
Anadyr, the most eastern Russian town in the Arctic, is located roughly 500 miles away from Alaska. Last October, Russia conducted an air exercise in Anadyr that included Tu-22M3 aircraft flying to the area for the first time. “In total, more than 20 aircraft, Tu-22M3 long-range bombers, and Il-78 tanker aircraft, 5 airfields and 2 ranges in different areas of the Russian Federation are involved in the exercise,” Russia’s Ministry of Defense said at the time. Sergei Kobylash oversaw that drill as well, which the Ministry of Defense indicated was partially to practice inflight refueling.