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Russia Resumes Long-Range Bomber Flights

Russia is resuming long-range bomber flights after a 15-year suspension.

President Vladimir Putin said Friday that he ordered patrols of long-range aircraft to begin immediately and said they will be permanent.

The long-range bombers are flying missions over the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans.

Fourteen long-range bombers took off from seven airfields across Russia early today. The Russian military and media report that NATO planes are escorting some of the bombers, but NATO will not confirm that.

The Soviet Union used to conduct long-range bomber flight with planes carrying nuclear missiles. The practice ended when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Mr. Putin told reporters that Russia is resuming strategic long-range flights because other countries have not stopped these kinds of flights, creating what he called security problems for Russia.

Russia, receiving a boost from high oil prices, is spending more money on its military budget.

Last week a Russian military plane flew near the U.S. military base on the Pacific island of Guam, but the U.S. military said it did not get close enough to be intercepted.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.