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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow, Kiev Swap Planes for Gas Debt

Russia will write off $285 million of Ukraine's natural-gas debt in exchange for 11 Soviet-era strategic bombers, a news report said Monday.

Rus sia will get 500 air-to-surface missiles along with the eight Tu-160 Blackjack and three Tu-95 Bear bombers under the deal, Itar-Tass said, citing unidentified sources.

Negotiations over the bombers have gone on for several years. Ukraine had wanted $75 million for each of the Tu-160s, a price Russia said was too high.

Ukraine inherited more than 40 Soviet strategic bombers after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, but its government lacked funds to maintain or fly the bombers.

Purchasing the Ukrainian bombers significantly strengthens the Russian air force, which previously had only six supersonic Tu-160s.