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Putin takes a flight in nuclear-capable bomber in a tough message to the West ahead of election

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has taken a co-pilot’s seat in a nuclear-capable strategic bomber, a flight that appeared aimed at bolstering his image ahead of next month’s election he’s all but certain to win. Putin’s 30-minute flight Thursday in a Tu-160M supersonic strategic bomber also seemed intended to send a reminder of Russia’s nuclear might amid soaring tensions with the West over the fighting in Ukraine. Putin, 71, who is running as an independent candidate, relies on a tight control over Russia’s political system that he has established during 24 years in power. Friday’s death of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny sent a chilling reminder of the Kremlin’s ruthless crackdown on dissent.

Article Topic Follows: AP National

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