The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) claimed intercepting Russian aircraft near Alaska on Wednesday but said they did not violate the US airspace.
“North American Aerospace Defense Command F-22 Raptors, supported by KC-135 Stratotankers and E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System, completed two intercepts of Russian Bomber formations entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone early this morning,” NORAD said on its Twitter.
The first Russian formation consisted of two Tu-95 bombers accompanied by two Su-35 fighter jets and an A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft, which came within 20 nautical miles of Alaskan shores, it said.
“The second formation consisted of two Tu-95 bombers supported by an A-50 and came within 32 nm [nautical miles],” according to NORAD.
“The Russian military aircraft remained in international airspace and at no time did they enter United States sovereign airspace,” NORAD stated.
Russia’s Defense Ministry reported earlier on Wednesday that four Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic missile-carrying bombers of the Russian Aerospace Force’s long-range aviation performed a patrol flight over the neutral waters of the Chukchi, Bering and Okhotsk Seas and the northern part of the Pacific Ocean.
“The flight lasted about 11 hours… At some sections of the route, the Russian aircraft were escorted by US Air Force F-22 fighters,” the ministry said.
The Russian strategic missile-carrying bombers took off from the airfields in the Chukotka Autonomous Area and the Amur Region, the ministry specified.
Russian military planes perform all flights in strict compliance with the international rules and without violating the airspace of other states, the ministry stressed.
In May this year, US Air Force strategic bombers performed flights along the Russian borders five times, the ministry said.
Header: An Air Force F-22 Raptor goes through maneuvers during a demonstration at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)