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The warplanes took off from a Russian air base in the enclave of Kaliningrad on March 2. Sweden confirmed the intrusion into its air space had occurred earlier this month, but the revelation that Russia’s bombers were armed with nukes has only emerged now.
Sweden responded to the intrusion by deploying two JAS-39 Gripen jets to intercept them. The nation’s military officials concluded the bombers were armed with nuclear warheads after examining images of them.
“We assess it as a conscious action. Which is very serious, especially as Russia is a warring country,” Air Force Chief Carl-Johan Edstrom said.
“I cannot rule out incorrect navigation, but everything indicates that it was a deliberate act. They violated Sweden’s borders.”
The incident occurred a day after Putin suggested Sweden and Finland could face military action from Russia if they joined NATO.
It also came just after Sweden pledged to send military aid, including 5000 antitank weapons, to Ukraine.
It was the first time since 1939 that Sweden had sent weapons to any country at war.
SU-24s are supersonic two-seater attack aircraft, which have been in service since before the fall of the Soviet Union. They have been used by both sides in the war between Russia and Ukraine.