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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bombers Not Carrying Nuclear Arms

Bombers on long-range patrols near NATO airspace are not carrying nuclear weapons, a senior Air Force commander said Monday.

Pavel Androsov, commander of the Air Force's long-range aviation, also said Western alarm over President Vladimir Putin's decision to resume the Soviet-era patrols this month had been fanned artificially.

"We have been flying, are flying and will continue to fly," he told reporters. "Our colleagues are not sitting on their laurels. If you look at the pilots of the strategic aviation of America and Britain, they also have not been sitting in their air bases. They are flying very intensively."

Androsov declined to say how many bombers the Air Force has but said it had parity with the United States. The Air Force has 79 strategic bombers in service, including 64 Tu-95MCs and 15 Tu-160s, news reports said.