Aircraft from Russia's long-range aviation group are flying continuous alert missions but without nuclear weapons on board, a senior Russian official told reporters here Tuesday.
„All such planes are provided with training missiles,” deputy commander of the group Major-General Anatoly Zhikharev was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying. „Continuous alert missions were resumed on August 17 on the decision of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief and President of the Russian Federation after an interval, which had lasted since 1992„ Zhikharev said. While observing the final stage of the „Peace Mission 2007” anti-terror drill at Chelyabinsk in Russia's Ural Mountains region Friday, President Vladimir Putin said Russia was resuming long-range strategic flights on a permanent basis from that day.
„Four strategic missile carriers, support planes, and tanker aircraft took off from seven Russian airfields in various parts of the country at 00:00, Moscow time, on August 17. Combat alert has begun,” Putin was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying. In 1992, Russia unilaterally stopped flights of its strategic aviation group in remote combat areas. However, „not all of the countries followed suit” and that has created certain problems for Russia's security, Putin said. „For this reason I have made the decision on the resumption of flights of Russian strategic aviation,” he added. He believed that Russia's partners would meet the resumption of such flights with „understanding.” (english.people.com.cn)