(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) – The Russian Defense Ministry says its strategic bombers flew to Indonesia on December 5, in a visit that showcased Russian efforts to project a military presence beyond its borders.
The ministry said two Tu-95 strategic bombers landed on Biak Island and were accompanied by two heavy-lift Il-76 transports that carried support crew and supplies.
The ministry said the bombers flew from Russia’s far-eastern Amur region and were refueled in the air by Il-78 tankers over the Pacific without incident.
The visit by the bombers, which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, appeared aimed at demonstrating Russia’s growing military power and its desire to expand its footprint around the world.
Russian state television stations reported that the bombers would spend a few days on Biak, part of Indonesia’s easternmost Papua province.
There was no immediate indication from Indonesia that such flights would recur in the future.