For the first time, Russia said on Tuesday that it could fly long-range strategic nuclear-capable bombers from its Syrian air base, extending its capability and enabling those planes to practice in new areas, Reuters reports.
Russia runs the Hmeymim air base on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, from which it has conducted air strikes in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the past.
Three Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range bombers have deployed to Hmeymim, according to the Russian defense ministry.
The base’s runways have been lengthened and one has been renovated, allowing Russia to fly aircraft of all types from the base, according to the statement.
The three recently arriving bombers would conduct training drills over the Mediterranean Sea in new geographical areas before returning to their permanent airfields in Russia, according to the defense ministry.