The bombers, capable of carrying cruise missiles and strategic nuclear weapons, have been active in the Ukrainian war since Moscow invaded in February.
Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International (ISI) has detected an “irregular presence” of Russian TU-160 and TU-95 strategic bombers deployed to the Olenya Airbase near Finland.
According to satellite images taken by the firm, four TU-160s were detected on August 21rst and three TU-95s were detected on September 25th. There were no strategic bombers present at the airbase on August 12th.
“Through ongoing Patterns-of-Life, the system indicates that Engels air base is the possible departure point of the strategic bombers detected in Olenya airbase,” the report read.
Engels air base is home to Russia’s only strategic bombers stationed near Ukraine and is the home base for the 121rst Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment (121 TBAP) that flies the TU-160s and TU-95.
While it is unclear why the bombers have been moved to the airbase, it comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to threaten the West that he could use strategic nuclear weapons, including after he announced a partial mobilization in the country, saying that “this is not a bluff.”
Olenya airbase is located on the Kola Peninsula near Murmansk. It houses Russia’s Northern Fleet and a significant number of arms and military hardware, including tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.