Russian bombers fly near Alaska coast, US military says
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said in a statement that its early warning system identified the four Tupolev Tu-95 bombers and two Su-35 fighters entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone, but noted that the Russian aircraft never entered American or Canadian airspace.
The statement said two of the Russian bombers initially were intercepted by one pair of F-22 fighter jets, while another pair of F-22s intercepted the other two bombers and the Su-35s later on. Further details of the encounter were not provided.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense said on Twitter Tuesday that the U.S. planes accompanied the Russian aircraft along part of their route.
The agency said the Russian planes made scheduled sorties over the neutral waters of the Chukotka, Bering and Okhotsk seas, as well as along the western coast of Alaska and the northern coast of the Aleutian Islands.
“NORAD’s top priority is defending Canada and the United States,” NORAD Commander Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy said in a statement. “Our ability to deter and defeat threats to our citizens, vital infrastructure, and national institutions starts with successfully detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft of interest approaching U.S. and Canadian airspace. NORAD is on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”