Russian Sends Two Nuclear-Capable Bombers Over Belarus

( )- For two days straight, Russia sent two nuclear-capable strategic bombers on training missions over Belarus this week in what is being called a strong show of Moscow’s support for Belarus in its dispute over migration at the Polish border.

The Belarusian Defense Ministry confirmed that two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers practiced bombing runs at the Ruzany firing range in Belarus, just 37 miles east of the Belarusian border with Poland. As part of the joint training mission, Belarusian fighter jets simulated an intercept of the bombers.

While the Belarusian Defense Ministry said that such flights will be conducted regularly, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Dmitry Polyansky told reporters in New York that these exercises were in response to the massive build-up on the Polish/Belarusian border.

Amid the tense standoff this week over thousands of mostly Middle Eastern migrants and refugees gathering on the Belarusian side of the border with Poland, Russia has strongly supported its ally Belarus. Polyansky told reporters that any build-up of Polish military resources along the border with Belarus will prompt a reaction from Russia.

The EU has accused Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko of encouraging these migrants to illegally cross the border as a “hybrid attack” in retaliation against EU sanctions on his government in response to Lukashenko’s crackdown on dissidents after his disputed 2020 reelection.

Belarus denies the accusation, but at the same time has said it will do nothing to stop these refugees and migrants from trying to cross into the EU.

On Thursday, Belarus’ Defense Ministry accused Poland of an “unprecedented” military buildup on the border, arguing that migration control shouldn’t require a concentration of 15,000 Polish troops backed up by tanks, air defense assets, and other weapons. The Defense Ministry argues that such action looks more like Poland is “forming a strike group of forces,” and Belarus will respond “both independently and within existing agreements” with Russia.

Also on Thursday, President Lukashenko said the Russian bomber flights are a necessary response to Poland’s buildup at the border. Lukashenko mocked Poland and the EU for screaming and squeaking, adding “Yes, those are nuclear-capable bombers, but we have no other choice.”