The already tense situation in the Korean peninsula became a bit more complicated today, after Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers appeared in the waters near the peninsula.
According to Russian Defense Ministry, long-range strategic bombers have carried out scheduled flights over the neutral waters of the Pacific, Sea of Japan and Yellow and East China Seas.
Tupolev-95MS bombers were accompanied by Su-35S fighters and A-50 airborne aircraft, the ministry said.
“During parts of the route, Russian strategic bombers were escorted by South Korean and Japanese military jets,” Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
“All flights are carried out in strict accordance with the International Rules for the Use of Airspace over Neutral Waters, without violating the boundaries of other states,” it added.
“Our long-range aviation pilots, according to an established plan, regularly carry out flights over neutral waters over the Atlantic, the Arctic, the Black Sea and the Pacific Ocean from their bases and from tactical airfields,” the ministry stated.
Japan and South Korea reacted by ordering their jets to escort Russian planes.
At the same time, United States and South Korea are to hold joint military drills, which infuriated Pyongyang, but also sparked criticism from both Russia and China.
The joint drills started on August 21, and will continue until the end of the month. Some 17,500 U.S. military personnel are participating, with a total number of about 40,000 participants.
“The US and South Korea holding yet more large-scale military and naval exercises does not help reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” said Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
“We urge all sides to exercise maximum caution. Given the arms build-up in the region, any rash move or even an unintended incident could spark a military conflict.”
North Korea has called the drill the “most explicit expression of hostility”which may “evolve into actual fighting.”
However, together with China, Russia voted in favor of the U.S.-proposed resolution to impose additional sanctions on the regime in Pyongyang, in an effort to put more pressure on the North.
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Photo Credit: Reuters