Russian bomber aircraft are stopped by NORAD close to Alaska

Multiple Russian military aircraft including fighter jets and strategic bombers were intercepted by North American air defence forces as they flew over international airspace near Alaska, US military said.The aircraft, which were identified on Feb. 13, did not enter United States or Canadian airspace and did not pose a threat, the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) said in a statement dated Feb. 14.It added that the Russian flights were in no way related to the mysterious spate of airborne objects shot down by the US military over North America in the past few weeks.”NORAD had anticipated this Russian activity and, as a result of our planning, was prepared to intercept it … Two NORAD F-16 fighters intercepted the Russian aircraft,” it said.While NORAD said it sometimes escorts aircraft out of the space near Alaska if needed, it did not say whether this was the case this time.Russia did not say whether its aircraft had been intercepted but said on Wednesday that it had carried out multiple flights over international waters in recent days, including in the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia.It said two of its Tu-95MC strategic missile carriers had flown over the Bering Sea accompanied by Su-30 jets.”Long-range aviation pilots regularly perform flights over the neutral waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, Black Sea, Baltic Sea and Pacific Ocean,” Russia’s defence ministry said.North American security forces have been on high alert in recent weeks after a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon crossed into US airspace, prompting the United States to shoot it and other objects down as it combs the skies.While Russia has carried out flights over the Bering Sea before, its neighbours in the region have become more concerned about Moscow’s military activity since its invasion of Ukraine last year.NATO member states have ramped up Arctic military exercises in recent years, as Russia has expanded and renewed its military infrastructure in the region.

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