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Russian strategic bombers resume Cold War sorties
Yahoo News/Reuters
August 9, 2007

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's strategic bombers have resumed their Cold War practice of flying long-haul missions to areas patrolled by NATO and the United States, a Russian general said on Thursday.

A Russian bomber flew on Wednesday over a U.S. military base on the Pacific island of Guam and "exchanged smiles" with U.S. pilots scrambled to track it, said Major-General Pavel Androsov, head of long-range aviation in the Russian air force.

"It has always been the tradition of our long-range aviation to fly far into the ocean, to meet (U.S.) aircraft carriers and greet (U.S. pilots) visually," Androsov told a news conference.

"Yesterday we revived this tradition, and two of our young crews paid a visit to the area of the (U.S. Pacific Naval Activities) base of Guam.

"I think the result was good. We met our colleagues - fighter jet pilots from (U.S.) aircraft carriers. We exchanged smiles and returned home," Androsov said.

Russia is growing more assertive on the international stage and has been trying to project its military power far beyond its borders. Its navy said this week it wanted to revive its Soviet-era presence in the Mediterranean Sea.

Last month Britain's Royal Air Force scrambled fighter jets to intercept Russian bombers heading towards British airspace. Russia's military said that was a routine flight.

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