Russian strategic bombers to patrol Caribbean: Air Force spokesma

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Moscow, Sep 15 (UNI) Two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers that landed in Venezuela last week will carry out a patrol mission over the Caribbean today.

''The current patrol mission will be conducted over neutral waters in the Caribbean,'' Lt Col Vladimir Drik told mediapersons.

''The aircraft will take off from Libertador airbase and spend about six hours in the air,'' he said, adding the specifics of flying in a tropical climate would be studied during the flight.

Col Drik also said that the crews of Tu-160 would meet Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on September 16.

The bombers landed at Venezuela's Libertador airfield on September 10 and were accompanied by NATO fighters during the 13-hour flight from their home base in central Russia.

The Tu-160 Blackjack is a supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber, designed to strike strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theaters of operation.

Col Drik said the bombers are carrying dummy missiles without warheads.

The US is unhappy with flights by Russian strategic bombers near US borders and accused Moscow of playing a ''dangerous game.'' UNI XC RJ DS1623

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