The two Russian bombers were flying in international airspace simultaneously as NATO’s large Trident Juncture exercise takes place.
“Two strategic missile carriers Tu-160 performed a scheduled flight over neutral waters of the Barents and Norwegian Seas,” the press department of Russia’s Defense Ministry informed Wednesday afternoon (in Russian).
The flight lasted about 10 hours.
Newspaper Aftenposten in Norway quotes a Norwegian defense spokesperson saying the aircraft were flying as far south as Bergen (southwestern Norway) before heading north again. Two Norwegian F-16 fighter jets were scrambled to identify the Russian planes.
In the Norwegian Sea, the North Sea and North Atlantic near Iceland, some 65 NATO vessels are participating together with other military forces on land and in the air in the alliance’s largest exercise in many years.
Trident Juncture, with more than 50,000 soldiers from 31 countries, started on October 25th and will last until November 7th.
Russia has sent naval vessels from the Baltic Fleet to the Norwegian Sea where missile test shootings will take place outside the west coast of Norway. Next week, warships from the Northern Fleet will fire rockets off Norway’s Barents Sea coast.
Related stories from around the North:
Finland: Russian military conducts confidence-building visit to Lapland Air Command in the Finnish Arctic, Radio Canada International
Norway: NATO wants to keep tensions low in the High North, says Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Radio Canada International
Russia: Russia holds anti-submarine drill in Arctic ahead of large NATO exercise in Norway, The Independent Barents Observer
United Kingdom: UK announces new Arctic defence strategy, but who’s the intended audience?, Eye on the Arctic feature interview
United States: New symposium brings U.S. military’s attention to the Arctic, Alaska Public Media