12:31 GMT +324 September 2019
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    Tu-95MS strategic bombers

    Russia, South Korea Agree Air Force Hotline After Trespass Claims

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    TOKYO (Sputnik) - The communication channel was discussed Tuesday after South Korea accused Russian aircraft of flying in July through its air defense identification zone.

    "Taking into account the importance of South Korean-Russian relationship, the sides agreed to raise the level of strategic dialogue to that of deputy defense ministers and create a direct line of communication between their air forces," the Korean National Defense Ministry said in a statement read.

    Russia's Defense Ministry argued last month that a couple of its Tu-95MS strategic bombers flew on a routine mission above international waters of the Yellow Sea, the Sea of Japan and the western Pacific. They were escorted by South Korean and Japanese fighters.

    "At separate stages of the itinerary, the Tu-95MS were followed by F-15 and F-16 fighter jets of the S. Korean Air Force, as well as by F-2A fighter jets of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

    In June, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russian aerospace manufacturer Tupolev will repair eight Tu-160 (NATO reporting name Blackjack) and Tu-95MS (Bear-H) strategic bombers before the end of this year.

    READ MORE: Russian Tu-95 Bombers Strike Daesh in Syria With Newest Kh-101 Cruise Missiles

    The minister pointed out that such aircraft were an important component of the Russian nuclear triad, which makes their maintenance especially crucial. Russia is in the process of implementing a large-scale rearmament program, which aims to upgrade 70 percent of the country's military equipment by 2020.

    READ MORE: Old Warrior: 60 Years On, Russia's Tu-95 Bomber Still Goes Strong


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