Russian and Chinese strategic warplanes, including Tupolev-95 long-range “Bear” bombers, conducted joint patrols over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea, the Russian defence ministry said on Wednesday.
South Korea’s military said earlier that it scrambled fighter jets as two Chinese and six Russian warplanes entered its air defence zone.
Russia’s defence ministry said that “at certain stages of the route, strategic missile carriers were accompanied by fighters of foreign states.”
“An air group consisting of Tu-95MC strategic missile carriers of the Russian Aerospace Forces and strategic bombers XIAN H-6K of the PLA Air Force carried out air patrols over the waters of the Japanese and East China Seas,” the ministry said.
It said Russian and Chinese aircraft “acted strictly in accordance with the provisions of international law” and that no foreign airspace was violated.
It was the first time that Russia and Chinese military aircraft landed in each other’s airfields as part of a joint air patrol, the ministry said.
The Tupolev Tu-95, known by NATO as “Bear”, along with the Tu-160, is the backbone of Russia’s long-range air attack nuclear forces. It was designed to drop nuclear bombs on the United States in the Cold War.