US nuclear bomber flies near Russian border in chilling warning to Putin after tyrant sent ‘nuke-armed jets to Sweden’

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A US nuclear bomber was spotted flying near the Russian border in a chilling message to Vladimir Putin.

The warning comes after the Russian tyrant reportedly sent bombers armed with nukes to Sweden but were intercepted by fighter jets.

The US bomber took off from Cotswold Airport

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The US bomber took off from Cotswold AirportCredit: Alamy
The B52 US bomber was seen flying near the Russian border

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The B52 US bomber was seen flying near the Russian border

According to Flightradar data, the B-52H Stratofortress took off from Cotswold Airport today.

Swedish media reported yesterday that four of Vladimir Putin’s warplanes swooped in over the Baltic towards the island of Gotland.

TV4, Expressen and Aftonbladet all reported the formation was two Sukhoi Su-24 bombers and two Sukhoi Su-27 fighters.

The bombers – as seen in the photos with the single stabiliser tails – were the ones reportedly armed with the nukes.

Stockholm’s military has not yet confirmed the incident – despite widespread reporting in Sweden.

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The warplanes took off from the Russian airbase in the enclave of Kaliningrad during the incident on March 2.

Sources told TV4 the move is believed to have been a deliberate attempt to intimidate Sweden.

Swedish JAS 39 Gripen jets were sent to intercept the planes – and they were in their airspace for around one minute.

Stockholm confirmed the interception earlier this month, but the reports about the jets being armed with nukes have only emerged now.

Su-24s are supersonic two-seater attack aircraft which have been in service since before the fall of the Soviet Union.

The aircraft have been used during the current war by both Russia and Ukraine.

Russia is understood to have at least 500 nuclear weapons designated for use by their bombers, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

The Swedish Armed Forces declined to comment when contacted by TV4 regarding the nukes.

At the time of the incursion, defence minister Peter Hultqvist said: “The Russian violation of Swedish airspace is of course completely unacceptable.

“It will lead to a firm diplomatic response from Sweden. Swedish sovereignty and territory must always be respected.”

The military said they were taking the incident “very seriously” and branded the incursion as “unprofessional and irresponsible”.

Air Force Chief Carl-Johan Edström added: “This is an unprofessional and irresponsible action on the part of Russia,”

Russia's two Sukhoi Su-24s - in the background of this picture - were reportedly armed with nuclear weapons

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Russia’s two Sukhoi Su-24s – in the background of this picture – were reportedly armed with nuclear weapons
The two bombers were escorted by another two Russian warplanes, a pair of Sukhoi Su-27 fighters

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The two bombers were escorted by another two Russian warplanes, a pair of Sukhoi Su-27 fighters

Sweden was at the time holding military drills alongside neighbouring Finland.

Neither country is a member of Nato.

The airspace incursion also came just after Sweden pledged to send military aid, including 5,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.

It was the first time since 1939 that Sweden sent weapons to any country at war.

Jörgen Elfving, former lieutenant colonel, told Aftonbladet that the incident raised questions over whether Sweden should be in Nato.

He said: “If you now have a weapon system that can carry nuclear weapons and do so, it is not an everyday event. 

“Handling nuclear weapons is not done by anyone, it is not a routine event.”

The former officer said such an incident has not happened since the Cold War.

Russian bombers have previously been reported to have been carrying nuclear weapons while on exercise near Western nations.

It was reported in 2015 that on at least two occasions Putin’s planes had been carrying nukes near the UK.

Handling nuclear weapons is not done by anyone, it is not a routine event

Jörgen ElfvingFormer Swedish lieutenant colonel

Vladimir Putin reportedly feels “misled” by his military and has lost faith in his top officials, a western intelligence chief has claimed.

A US official said the Russian president isn’t being told the full extent of his military losses because his advisors “are too afraid to tell him the truth”.

In the latest fighting, a Red Cross warehouse in Mariupol was hit by at least two Russian strikes.

New satellite images from Maxar Technologies confirm the building – which had a large red cross painted on the roof – was heavily shelled.

No information on casualties has yet been released.

The news comes as President Joe Biden and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky have held further talks.

Speaking on Twitter, Zelensky said he and Biden had discussed “specific defensive support, a new package of enhanced sanctions, macro-financial, and humanitarian aid”.

The US president, 79, made headlines last week when he appeared to call for Putin to be overthrown.

During a major speech in Poland, in an apparently off-the-cuff remark, Biden said Putin “cannot remain in power”.

The White House later issued a statement hastily backtracking from any calls for regime change in Russia, while the Kremlin demanded “sick” Biden face a “psychiatric exam”.

Perhaps wary of the row, Boris Johnson today said it was “not the objective of the UK government” to remove Putin from power.

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Addressing the Liaison Committee of the House of Commons, the PM said: “We are simply setting out to help, to protect the people of Ukraine, to protect them against absolutely barbaric and unreasonable violence.”

He also said sanctions on Moscow should be intensified “until ever single one of [Putin’s] troops is out of Ukraine”.

Sweden deployed JAS 39 Gripen jets to monitor the four warplanes

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Sweden deployed JAS 39 Gripen jets to monitor the four warplanesCredit: AFP

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