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MOSCOW — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Thursday took a co-pilot’s seat in a nuclear-capable strategic bomber on a flight that appeared aimed toward bolstering his picture forward of subsequent month’s election he’s all however sure to win.

Putin’s 30-minute flight in a Tu-160M supersonic strategic bomber additionally appeared supposed to ship a reminder of Russia’s nuclear would possibly amid hovering tensions with the West over the preventing in Ukraine.

Putin, 71, who’s working as an impartial candidate, depends on a good management over Russia’s political system that he has established throughout 24 years in energy. Friday’s dying of imprisoned Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny despatched a chilling reminder of the Kremlin’s ruthless crackdown on dissent and dealt a heavy blow to the beleaguered Russian opposition.

On Thursday, Putin, clad in a flight swimsuit, boarded the warplane at a snow-covered airfield of an aircraft-making plant within the Volga River metropolis of Kazan that has constructed the heavy bombers for the reason that Soviet instances.

The plant has acquired state orders to provide a modernized model of the Tu-160 bomber that first flew within the Nineteen Eighties and was code-named Blackjack by NATO.

The plane Putin flew was one of many first such revamped bombers constructed, geared up with new engines and avionics and designated Tu-160M.

Talking to reporters after the flight, Putin praised the brand new plane as “glorious,” noting that it has massive enhancements in comparison with the preliminary model.

Thursday’s flight marked at the least the third time he bought in a cockpit of a warplane. In 2000, he took a co-pilot’s seat in a Su-27 fighter to fly to Chechnya throughout separatist preventing there and in 2005 he co-piloted a Tu-160 throughout navy drills.

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