ISI Detects Russian Tu-160 and Tu-95 Nuclear Bombers Approaching Finland, For What?

ISI Detects Russian Tu-160 and Tu-95 Nuclear Bombers Approaching Finland, For What
ISI Detects Russian Tu-160 and Tu-95 Nuclear Bombers Approaching Finland

International Military - Several Russian Tupelov Tu-160 and Tupelov Tu-95 strategic bombers have approached Finnish territory recently. Their maneuvers were detected by a satellite operated by the Israeli intelligence company, ImageSat International (ISI). The planes capable of dropping nuclear bombs are known to have been deployed to Olenya Air Base near Finland.

According to ISI satellite imagery, four TU-160s were detected on August 21 and three TU-95s were detected on September 25. "Through the ongoing Patterns-of-Life, the system indicates that Engels Air Base is the probable departure point of the strategic bomber detected at Olenya Air Base," the ISI report said.

Satellite image showing Russia's Tu-160 and Tu95 nuclear-capable bombers

Engels Air Base is home to Russia's only strategic bomber stationed near Ukraine and is the base for the 121st Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment (121 TBAP) flying the TU-160 and TU-95. Several bombers, capable of carrying cruise missiles and strategic nuclear weapons, have been active in the Ukraine war since the invasion of Moscow in February.

Throughout the war against Ukraine, the Russian Air Force was unable to gain air superiority and had instead lost many aircraft. While it is not clear why the bombers were transferred to Olenya Air Base, it came as Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to threaten the West that he could use strategic nuclear weapons, including after he announced the partial mobilization of the country's reservist troops, saying; "This is not a bluff."

Olenya Air Base is located on the Kola Peninsula near Murmansk. It houses the Russian Northern Fleet and a large number of military weapons and hardware, including tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.

According to 2020 data released under the New START arms reduction treaty between Moscow and Washington, Russia admits to having 1,447 strategic nuclear warheads deployed and has the capacity to deploy more than 1,550 nuclear warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and ship-based ballistic missiles. modern submarines (SLBMs), as well as heavy bombers, but are restricted from doing so by the New START treaty.

The air base is also Russia's main air base that has a very large attack capacity that will send signals to the United States and NATO. The base is also out of reach of the Ukrainian arsenal, which has attacked Russian airbases with weaponry sent by Washington and other European countries.

Ukrainian military intelligence spokesman Vadym Skibitsky said in an interview with The Guardian on Tuesday that Kiev rates Moscow's threat of using tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine as "very high." According to Skibitsky, tactical strikes are likely to target locations along the front line where there are large numbers of people, equipment, command centers and critical infrastructure.

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