Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 108

An "informed source" in the Russian Defense Ministry said yesterday it was extremely unlikely that Russia would pay Ukraine for any of the strategic bombers left in Ukraine after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The two countries have been wrangling over these warplanes for the past six years. The Russians now charge that the Ukrainians have neglected the planes so much that it would be impractical to buy them back. In effect, this means that Russia has decided to abandon the airborne leg of its strategic deterrent. The bulk of the Soviet Union’s Tu-160 "Blackjack" supersonic strategic bombers remain in Ukraine. They are of no use to the host country but would be essential for the Russian air force should it wish to maintain a viable strategic bomber force. Economics has apparently ruled out this option (Interfax, June 2)

Economic Recovery in CIS Gives Way to Greater Variation.