MOSCOW — The military announced on Tuesday that Russia Deploys Nuclear three nuclear-capable long-range bombers to its base in Syria, bolstering Moscow’s military presence in the Mediterranean.
Bomber crews will conduct a series of training missions over the Mediterranean, according to the ministry. The Tupolev Tu-22M3, code-named Backfire by NATO, is a supersonic twin-engine long-range bomber with a range of over 5,000 kilometers and the capability to transport nuclear warheads (3,100 miles).
Since September 2015, Russia has launched a military campaign in Syria, helping Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government to retake control of the majority of the country after a disastrous civil war.
The runway at Hemeimeem has been expanded to accommodate the heavy bombers, according to the Russian ministry, and a second runway has been modernized.
Russia has also expanded and updated a naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus, which is reportedly Russia’s only such facility outside of the former Soviet Union.
The Russian navy has resurrected the Soviet-era tradition of continuously revolving its warships in the Mediterranean in recent years as part of President Vladimir Putin’s attempts to shore up Russia’s military despite tensions with the West.
The deployment of the bombers is the first time Moscow has deployed heavy bombers in the area since the Cold War.
Around 60 Tu-22M3s are still in service with the Russian air force, and some of them have flown bombing missions against rebels in Syria from Russian bases.