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Putin sends signal to West by flying nuclear-capable 'bombers'

Putin sends signal to West by flying nuclear-capable 'bombers'

Russian President Vladimir Putin flew a modernized nuclear-capable Tu-160M ​​strategic bomber on Thursday, in a move likely to be seen in the West as a sharp signal of Moscow's nuclear capabilities.

The giant jet, codenamed "Blackjacks" by the NATO military alliance, is a modernized version of a Cold War-era bomber that the former Soviet Union would have deployed in the event of a nuclear war to deliver weapons over long distances.

State television showed Putin descending a ladder from the plane after the flight and telling reporters it was a reliable and modernized aircraft that could be accepted by the Russian Air Force.

"It's a new car, many things about it are new. It's easier to control. It's reliable," Putin said.

The Russian leader, who is widely expected to win another six-year term next month, made the flight at a time when Moscow and the West are at odds over Russia's war in Ukraine and the death in prison of opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

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