Moscow is planning to send fighter jets to patrol the North Pole, according to a Russian news report, resuming a practice from the Cold War.
Citing Russian Defense Ministry sources, Izvestia reports that two squadrons of MiG-31BM interceptor jets will be patrolling the North Pole’s airspace.
The move follows Russian training flights over the North Pole that occurred last year and will be closely watched by the U.S.
Last year, the U.S. military said that two Russian nuclear-capable bombers escorted by two fighter jets flew near Alaska on Sept. 11. The Russian aircraft were intercepted by a pair of Air Force F-22 stealth fighter jets.
The encounter was the second time in a month that Russian bombers had flown near Alaska.
Russia’s military arsenal is also in the spotlight. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently warned that the U.S. lacks the defenses needed to protect against a new breed of highly sophisticated hypersonic weapons from China and Russia.
Last year, the Russian military said it ran a successful test of a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile capable of sneaking through enemy defenses. In December, a video posted by the Defense Ministry showed a MiG-31 fighter jet launching a Kinzhal (Dagger) missile during a training flight.
Earlier this month, the U.S. formally suspended its obligations under a Cold War-arms treaty with Russia. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration acted after what he calls “Russia’s material breach” of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and its failure to come into compliance in the two months since Washington gave notice of its intent to withdraw from the pact.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers
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