The Russian Defence Ministry has denied reports published by the Israeli online media outlet DEBKAfile about Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 (NATO reporting name "Backfire") long-range strategic bombers soaring through Iran's airspace recently on their way from their bases in Russia to Syria.
"Information from one of the Israeli Internet resources about the alleged flights of Russian bombers in Iranian airspace is fake", the ministry said.
The media outlet claimed the bombers were flying from a Russian base to conduct bombing sorties in Syria and that the route was allegedly chosen for being the shortest one possible.
The Tu-22M3 is a third modification of the supersonic, variable-sweep wing, long-range strategic bomber, which was developed back in 1970s and has been in service with the Russian Air Force until this day, with 14 of a total of 63 Tu-22s having been used in operations in Syria since 2015. The strategic aircraft is capable of carrying missiles and bombs simultaneously, flying distances of up to 2,400 kilometres, and carrying a payload of 12,000kg.
In Syria, these bombers have been used to deliver strikes against terrorist groups operating in the country in tight coordination with government forces carrying out operations on the ground.