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Putin's ‘Flying Gunboats’

Against the backdrop of tense relations over Ukraine and Crimea, Russia has increased Tu-95 'Bear' nuclear bomber flights on the boundaries of UK and NATO airspace. What is the Kremlin's viewpoint and is the implied nuclear threat to European NATO members credible?

Over last two years, the Russian air force has dramatically increased its activity near NATO air space. Last year, more than 100 Russian aircraft were intercepted over the North Sea, Baltic Sea and Atlantic Ocean by NATO allies, three times more than during 2013. NATO and other European nations, including Sweden, blame Russia for acting dangerously on many occasions. Russia fires back its propaganda shots. The Russian deputy minister of defence, Anatoliy Antonov, held a

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Dr Igor Sutyagin

Senior Research Fellow, Russian Studies

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