The Pentagon has sent six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to Europe for
training exercises with European NATO member nations, in a move which
officials are presenting as a “message” to Russia.
Though officials tried to present this as a response to Russian “aggression,” in practice Russia hasn’t done anything in quite some time. Rather, the deployment appears to be timed to the fifth year anniversary of Crimea’s accession into the Russian Federation, which the US opposes.
The nuclear bombers will be operating out of RAF Fairford in Britain for the time being. This isn’t the only set of B-52 US bombers being positioned within range of Russia, however, with another set exercises in the north Pacific, off the coast of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.
Potentially nuclear-related deployments are likely to add to pressure for Russia to add to its own deployments in western Russia, as they attempt to retain some sort of deterrence as the US works on intermediate-range missiles and threatens more deployments into Europe.
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