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Putin takes a ride in a nuclear-capable bomber

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NEW DELHI: In a move to demonstrate the nuclear capabilities of Russia, President Vladimir Putin flew on a modernised nuclear-capable strategic bomber “Blackjacks” on Thursday, state TV reported on Thursday.
The Tu-160M bomber is a modernized version of a Cold War-era bomber that the former Soviet Union would have used to carry missiles across large distances in the event of nuclear war.
Calling the bomber “reliable” as he climbed down a ladder from the jet, Putin said, “It’s a new machine, a lot about it is new. It’s easier to control. It’s reliable.”
Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, said the plane’s flight path was a military secret. Putin’s flight lasted 30 minutes, according to Russian news sources.
Putin, who is poised to easily win another six-year term next month, flew in an older variant of the Tu-160 during a training exercise in 2005.
State TV showed the massive plane, nicknamed “White Swans” in Russia, taking off and landing at a runway belonging to the Kazan factory that manufactures the modernized supersonic aircraft, with presenter Pavel Zarubin exclaiming that it was “a unique event”.
The Tu-160M, which has four crew members, can carry 12 cruise missiles or 12 short-range nuclear missiles and fly 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) nonstop without refueling.
This comes at a time when Moscow and the West are at odds over Russia’s war in Ukraine and opposition figure Alexei Navalny’s murder in prison.
Meanwhile, former President Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, has repeatedly warned of the dangers of a nuclear catastrophe with the West since Moscow pushed tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in 2022.
(With inputs from agencies)

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