Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

US B-52

A United States Air Force B-52 bomber lands at Royal Air Force Field Fairford in the U.K. as tensions remain high over the build-up of Russian forces near the border with Ukraine, on February 10, 2022. (Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)

Amid Ukraine Tension, US Deploys Nuclear-Ready B-52 Bombers to UK

"The West is trying to make a tragedy out of this," said Russia's foreign minister.

Julia Conley

Despite repeated warnings from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the U.S. is driving the rise of tensions at Ukraine's eastern border, the U.S. Air Force has deployed four B-52 bombers with nuclear capabilities to the U.K., where one official acknowledged that the deployment is at least partially connected to Russia's recent military activities.

"In 1991 they hit Baghdad from Fairford, flew on to Diego Garcia, refueled and rearmed, bombed Baghdad again on the way back, and returned to Fairford."

Two B-52 Stratofortress aircrafts arrived at Royal Air Force Fairford on Thursday, with two more following. The bombers integrated with other NATO members' forces en route to Fairford, according to the Air Force, including "British Typhoon aircraft and Portuguese F-16s currently assigned to NATO's Icelandic Air Policing mission."

The U.S. military downplayed the deployment, saying it was a "long-planned Bomber Task Force mission," but one U.K. defense source told The Telegraph, "Is this aligned to current tensions? Yes and no."

According to The Telegraph, a former British intelligence official noted that the Pentagon could launch air strikes from Fairford as it has before.

"From Fairford they could operate against a range of targets: troop concentrations in southern Russia and Belarus, Moscow/St. Petersburg, even the naval bases in the White Sea," the former official told the outlet. "In 1991 they hit Baghdad from Fairford, flew on to Diego Garcia, refueled and rearmed, bombed Baghdad again on the way back, and returned to Fairford."

The bombers sent from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota are capable of carrying precision-guided and nuclear weapons.

As the bombers arrived in the U.K., President Joe Biden warned in an interview with NBC News that American citizens in Ukraine and Russia should leave immediately while the U.S. State Department issued a notice that it would not be able to evacuate Americans in the event of military action by Russia.

"We're dealing with one of the largest armies in the world," Biden told Lester Holt. "Things could go crazy quickly."

"That's a world war when Americans and Russia start shooting at one another," the president added.

The U.S. has claimed Russia is poised to potentially launch an invasion of Ukraine, with tanks reaching Kyiv within 48 hours of beginning an attack at the border.

Russia's military has been conducting exercises near the border for two days after having assembled troops there in recent months. Russian officials deny having plans to attack Ukraine and have called on the U.S. to guarantee that Ukraine, a former Soviet state, will not be permitted to join NATO and for the alliance to withdraw troops from Eastern European countries, as well as other security assurances. The U.S. has rejected those demands.

In addition to the B-52 bombers, the U.S. is deploying 1,700 troops to Poland, while British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace arrived in Moscow Friday for diplomatic talks.

In discussions with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called on Russian to pull back its military presence at the Ukrainian border and de-escalate the situation.

"You first have to prove to me that we are the ones who created this tense situation," Lavrov said. "The West is trying to make a tragedy out of this, while, increasingly, it's similar to a comedy."

Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters Friday that negotiations with the West are ongoing and that he will speak with French President Emmanuel Macron in the coming days for further diplomatic talks.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Bloodbath': At Least 6 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Mass Shooting at Illinois July 4th Parade

"What freedom do we have if we fear being gunned down at a parade?" asked one progressive politician horrified by the reported carnage.

Brett Wilkins ·


On This July 4th, Abortion Rights Movement Says 'We're Not in the Mood for Fireworks'

"If we don’t have the ability to make decisions about if, when, and how to grow our families—we don't have freedom."

Brett Wilkins ·


Deadly Glacier Collapse in Italy 'Linked Directly to Climate Change'

At least seven people were killed when a glacier slid down a mountainside near a popular climbing route in the Alps on Sunday.

Julia Conley ·


'Organized Whitewash': US Claims Israeli Military's Murder of Journalist Not Intentional

"The odds that those responsible for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh will be held to account are all but nonexistent," said the human rights group B'Tselem in response to findings of U.S. State Department.

Brett Wilkins ·


Hundreds March in Akron Enraged by Police Killing of Jayland Walker

"The police can do whatever they want," said one local resident through tears. "They can take our children's lives and think it's okay."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo