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    Long-range aircraft reach Alaska, Arctic pole

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    Russian long-range aircraft have crossed the Arctic Ocean, flown over the geographic Arctic pole and reached Alaska, the Aleutian Islands and Japan's west coast, the commander of Russia's Long-Range Aviation Command said Friday.

    ENGELS (Saratov region), September 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russian long-range aircraft have crossed the Arctic Ocean, flown over the geographic Arctic pole and reached Alaska, the Aleutian Islands and Japan's west coast, the commander of Russia's Long-Range Aviation Command said Friday.

    "All aircraft were above neutral waters and did not approach the territorial waters of other nations closer than 12 nautical miles [16 miles]," Lt.-Gen. Igor Khvorov said.

    The commander of Russia's Air Force said Tuesday that more than 50 strategic and long-range bombers were involved in a major exercise that began Tuesday.

    "I cannot remember such a large-scale, long-range aircraft exercise in Russia's history," Vladimir Masorin said.

    He said Tu-160 Blackjacks, Tu-95MS Bears and Tu-22M3 Backfires will fly above the Arctic and Pacific oceans and the Black and Caspian seas.

    "Each plane will launch missiles, and a Tu-22M3 bomber will perform bombing runs at practice ranges," Masorin said.

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