US dispatches nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and 800 airmen for Nato exercises near Russia

Vasudevan Sridharan
International Business Times
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trumps-summary-of-first-trip-abroad-we-hit-a-home-run

The US Air Force has dispatched B-52 nuclear-capable bombers along with 800 airmen to Europe to take part in the Nato exercises as a show of strength against Russia. The US European Command said the units were deployed to the UK Royal Air Force base Fairford in England ahead of the training exercises with the Nato allies.

News about the latest mobilisation comes just hours after Moscow warned against Nato's military build-up in Russia's doorstep. Military exercises are set to take place in the Baltic Sea, the Arctic and in several Nato member states which share a border with Russia.

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The US B-52H Stratofortresses bombers, capable of carrying nearly 31,000kg payload for more than 8,000 miles, are being sent as part of Washington's bid the prepare the forces for "global challenges," said the US European Command.

"Training with allied nations and joint partners improves coordination between nations and enables the US Air Force to build enduring relationships necessary to confront a broad range of global challenges. The strategic bomber deployment will support exercises Arctic Challenge, Saber Strike and Baltic Operations in the US European Command area of responsibility throughout the month of June 2017," read a statement from the US European Command.

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While the Arctic Challenge drills, which are taking place in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, will get over on 2 June, the Sabre Strike – war games hosted by Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia – will go on until 24 June.

In what is called as a deterrent move to counter Russia's aggressive military posture in the region, Nato said as many as 4,600 of its troops will participate in the exercises.

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B-52 Stratofortress bomber
B-52 Stratofortress bomber

Speaking about the latest wargames, Russian envoy to Nato Alexander Grushko warned: "Nato countries should understand that all these efforts will not become unnoticed for us and will not stay without response in terms of military planning. With these military steps, military activities and military reinforcements, Nato is building a new military, security situation that we cannot ignore, that we should address using our own military instruments."

Nato's eastern states have been asked for bolster its defences ever since the Ukrainian region of Crimean peninsula became a part of Russia in 2014. Though the western world accuses Russia of annexing Crimea by force, Moscow denies the charges.

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