"The bombers based at Engels airfield in southern Russia's Saratov Region are conducting a routine 18-hour patrol flight over the oceans," Col. Alexander Drobyshevsky said. "During the flight they have been accompanied by NATO interceptors."
Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by former President Vladimir Putin. Russian bombers have since carried out about 80 strategic patrol flights and have often been escorted by NATO planes.
Drobyshevsky reiterated that all Russian strategic patrols are performed in strict accordance with international rules on the use of airspace over neutral waters without violating the borders of other states.