A pair of Tu-160 bombers, known as Blackjack”, landed in Caracas on Monday following a 6,200-mile flight, which is said to be aimed at showcasing Moscow’s growing military prowess and shoring up the position of Venezuela’s embattled president, Nicolás Maduro.
The planes touched down at the Simón Bolívar international airport as part of a larger fleet also including an An-124 military transport plane and an Il-62 passenger jet
The Russian defense ministry said the bombers were shadowed by Norwegian F-18 fighter jets during part of their flight.
Venezuela’s defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López, said the arrival of the aircraft for joint maneuvers was not intended as a provocation. “We are makers of peace, not war,” he was quoted as saying by the state broadcaster Venezolana de Televisión (VTV).