FACT CHECK: Did Russia Recently Deploy Nuclear Bombers To America’s ‘Backyard’?
A post shared on Facebook claims Russian President Vladimir Putin quietly dispatched nuclear bomber aircraft to Venezuela during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia sent two such planes to Venezuela in 2018, before the current war. There is no evidence such a move has taken place during the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Putin placed Russia’s nuclear forces on “high alert” Feb. 27 amid his country’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Associated Press reported. The move prompted an immediate escalation of tensions between Russia and the West, fueling fears of a nuclear conflict over Ukraine, the outlet reported. However, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg saw no need to change NATO’s own alert levels, calling Russia’s statements “reckless and irresponsible,” The Hill reported.
The Facebook post claims Putin took “the war to America – deploys TU 160 nuclear bombers less than 1,763 miles – in America’s own backyard,” referring to Venezuela. It alleges that Putin took this action because President Joe Biden “says he sees nothing wrong” in deploying missile systems in NATO countries and called Russia’s invasion “unjustified.” (RELATED: Does This Video Show NATO Delivering Military Equipment To Ukraine?)
Check Your Fact found no evidence suggesting a move to that effect had been made recently. Neither Putin, Russia’s Ambassador to Venezuela nor Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has issued a public statement about a Tu-160 bomber aircraft being deployed in Venezuela since the war in Ukraine began. The U.S. Department of Defense and NATO have also not reported that Russia deployed such aircraft to Venezuela recently.
Russia has previously placed Tu-160 aircraft in Venezuela. The images featured in the Facebook post are partial still-frames from a CNN segment about Putin sending two TU-160 planes to the South American country in 2018. Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino claimed they were part of military exercises at the time, according to BBC News.