65-years of Tu-95 intercepts

“The Tupolev Tu-95 (Russian: Туполев Ту-95; NATO reporting name: “Bear”) is a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform. First flown in 1952, the Tu-95 entered service with the Soviet Union in 1956 and is expected to serve the Russian Air Force until at least 2040.” (Wikipedia)

This website has made a compilation of decades of intercepting the Tu-95 by NATO fighters.

For example the 1960s (below).
Intercepting the Bear (1960s)

The Tu-95 intercepts continued in 2007 after a pause due to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“On August 18, 2007, President Vladimir Putin announced that Tu-95 patrols would resume, 15 years after they had ended.” (Wikipedia)

Although recently overhauled, one of them caught fire while taxiing to the runway in 2013 and was considered lost.
KMO_134783_00004_1_t218 KMO_134783_00003_1_t218 KMO_134783_00001_1_t218

There are also worries about the danger for civilian aviation.
“In at least one of the four incidents, the aircraft had switched off their transponders and had not filed flight plans with civilian air traffic controllers. That means that civilian air traffic control cannot track them, potentially creating a risk for civilian planes.” (The Washington Post)


“Whereas the Tu-95 was originally intended to drop free-falling nuclear weapons, it was subsequently modified to perform a wide range of roles, such as the deployment of cruise missiles, maritime patrol (Tu-142), and even civilian airliner (Tu-114).” (Wikipedia)

The Tu-95SM is designed as the launch platform for the Kh-55 cruise missile, the missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and has an operational range of 2,500 km or 3,000 km for the Kh-55SM variant. (Wikipedia)
As we can see on the map from The Washington Post above it would be no issue for the Tu-95 to launch a cruise missile with a target anywhere in Europe.