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An American B-52 bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons conducted planned maneuvers over the Baltic Sea
An American B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber with the call sign NOBLE61 conducted a maneuver over the Baltic Sea, 200 kilometers (around 125 miles) from St. Petersburg, reports Russian state broadcaster RBC, citing data from FlightRadar24.
According to the real-time flight tracking service, the aircraft, which is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear weapons, flew out of Polish territory and over the Baltic Sea, where it turned toward St. Petersburg near the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Near the Russian island of Gogland, the bomber changed course, flying over Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania before heading toward the U.K.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak commented on the maneuver, posting on Twitter that the B-52 was escorted by Polish fighter jets and that the flight was “an important part of the interoperability exercise.”
Mika Aaltola, director of the Finnish Institute for International Affairs, posted that the flight was a response to “increased provocative activities” from Russia.
A source for the St. Petersburg newspaper Fontanka said that the Baltic Fleet knew about the American bomber’s planned maneuver and followed the aircraft throughout its flight near the borders of the Russian Federation. “They were prepared to respond immediately if anything happened,” said the source.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has not yet commented.
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