MOSCOW, June 11 (UPI) -- Four long-range Russian planes made a successful nine-hour flight Wednesday over the Arctic Ocean, an air force spokesman said.
Lt. Col. Vladimir Drik said that the planes were Tu-160 aircraft, Itar-Tass reported. He said that the crews demonstrated during the long flight that they have mastered the skills needed to fly over the Arctic, including navigating without visual clues.
The patrols have obeyed international rules, staying in neutral airspace over the Arctic Ocean, he added.
Russia, like other countries bordering the Arctic Ocean, has become concerned about staking claims in the area. Global warming could melt the Arctic sea ice, opening up new shipping routes and allowing extraction of oil and minerals from the ocean bottom.