US fighter jets intercept Russian warplanes in skies above Alaskan coast
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The F-22s were scrambled when the Russian planes flew into the Alaskan Air Defence Identification Zone. A North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) spokesman said: “NORAD F-22s, supported by a KC-135 Stratotanker, intercepted two Russian IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone in the late hours of June 24.”
The Russian aircraft came within 50 miles of Unimak Island along the Aleutian island chain
He continued: “The Russian aircraft came within 50 miles of Unimak Island along the Aleutian island chain.
“They remained in international airspace and at no time did the aircraft enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace.”
The interception follows similar encounters earlier this month in which US F-22 jets were scrambled to shadow Russian nuclear-capable bombers near Alaska on two separate occasions.
In March, US and Canadian fighter jets intercepted two Russian reconnaissance aircraft while they were flying off the Alaskan coast.
There were also multiple intercepts involving Russian military aircraft off the coast of Alaska last year.
Last week, US strategic bombers were intercepted by Russian fighter jets over the Baltic Sea.
Pictures showed the nuclear-capable Russian jets flying incredibly close to the US military planes.
The Russian Defence Ministry defended the dangerous actions and said they launched the jets after air defence forces were alerts to “foreign states over the neutral waters”.
A spokesman said: “The quick reaction alert air defence forces of the Western Military District timely uncovered the operations of US Air Force B-52H bombers and reconnaissance aircraft of foreign states over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea, following which they were shadowed by Russian fighters.
“At a considerable distance from the state border of the Russian Federation, the aircraft of foreign states were continuously tracked by Russian radar stations.
“Su-27 fighters of the Baltic Fleet’s naval aviation were scrambled to intercept the targets in the air.”
It comes as Russia confirmed it was ready to try to de-escalate tensions with NATO.
Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said the coronavirus pandemic provided the impetus to pool efforts in the face of a common threat.
Speaking at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Annual Security Review Conference, which was held online this year, he said: “A crisis is a risk and an opportunity at the same time.
“COVID-19 exposed the fragility and flaws of international cooperation, and it gives us a chance to unite in the face of a common threat.
“This opportunity should be used so as not to enter a new spiral of deepening the division lines.
“We are prepared for de-escalation and we confirm this by action.”
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Mr Grushko said Moscow had formulated a number of specific proposals for pulling military exercises back away from the Russia-NATO border line, improving mechanisms of prevention of dangerous military incidents and restoring working contacts along military lines.
He told the conference: “This year Russia’s armed forces plan no major exercises near the borders of NATO’s member-states.
“The region of the strategic command and staff exercise Caucasus-2020 has been moved deeper inside the country.
“We hope that our partners will react constructively. All members of the OSCE community will need strategic far-sightedness and ability to discard the philosophy of domination, sanitary cordons and iron curtains.”
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