A Russian pair of nuclear-capable bombers made an unprecedented visit to Africa on Wednesday, reflecting Moscow’s new push for influence.
Footage from Russia’s Defence Ministry showed two TU-160 strategic fighter planes taking off from an unknown location in Russia and later landing at the Waterkloof airfield in South Africa.
It reportedly took the flight more than 13 hours and pilot had to refuel in the sky mid-journey.
The Defence Ministry said Russia will use the planes in joint military exercises with South African colleagues, describing the visit as a sign of ‘’ strategic partnership’‘.
Russia is holding its first ever summit with Africa in Sochi. At a bilateral meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa, Putin said Moscow is looking to further expand trade with one of the most developed economies on the continent.
Russia has signed military cooperation agreements with at least 28 African countries, the majority in the past five years.
Officials have discussed the possibility for Russian airplanes and navy ships to use ports and air bases in some African countries.