"The crews of the Russian Air Force's long-range aviation are conducting exercises in the Arctic Circle to test the combat readiness of air defense alert force in Russia's northwest. A detachment of the Tu-95MS strategic bombers, which took off from Engels Air Base, has entered the [airspace] of the Kola Peninsula's air defense unit; anti-aircraft systems will [launch simulated attacks] from different directions, as well as at various altitudes and speeds," the press service said in a statement.
The drills come three days after Russian President Vladimir Putin put the country’s Northern Fleet on full alert in a snap combat readiness exercise, which involves more than 38,000 military personnel, about 3,000 land-based mobile weapons systems, as well as dozens of warships, submarines, combat aircraft and helicopters.
The first snap combat readiness checks were initiated by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in 2012.
The Tu-95MS is a modernized version of the Tu-95 four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform, which has been in service in the Russian Air Force since 1957.