From AP and CBS News press reports:
In a show of military muscle amid tensions with the West, Russia will send long-range strategic bombers on regular patrol missions across the globe, from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.
The announcement by Shoigu came as NATO's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg
accused Russia of sending fresh troops and tanks into eastern Ukraine.
Shoigu said Russian long-range bombers will conduct flights along Russian borders and over the Arctic Ocean. He said, "In the current situation we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico."
Shoigu would not say how frequent the patrol missions would be or offer any other specifics, but he noted that the increasing pace and duration of flights would require stronger maintenance efforts and that relevant directives have been issued to industries.
He said the Russian air force's long-range planes also will conduct "reconnaissance missions to monitor foreign powers' military activities and maritime communications."
A senior U.S. military official said Russia has not previously flown actual bomber patrols over the Gulf of Mexico, including during the Cold War.
The bomber patrol flights have resumed under President Vladimir Putin's tenure, and they have become even more frequent in recent weeks, with NATO reporting a spike in Russian military flights over the Black, Baltic and North seas as well as the Atlantic Ocean.
Earlier this year, Shoigu said that Russia plans to expand its worldwide military presence by seeking permission for navy ships to use ports in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere for replenishing supplies and doing maintenance. He said the military was conducting talks with Algeria, Cyprus, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, Seychelles, Vietnam and Singapore.
Shoigu said Russia also is talking to some of those countries about allowing long-range bombers to use their air bases for refuelling .
Complete story at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/russia-flexing-military-muscle-with-expanded-bomber-patrols/