US, Canada scramble jets to escort Russian bombers
Iran Press TV
Sun Jan 27, 2019 02:00PM
The United States and Canada have sent four fighter jets to shadow Russian long-range bombers flying near Canadian air defense identification zone in the Arctic region, authorities say.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) confirmed that two US Air Force F-22 stealth aircraft and two Canadian Royal Air Force CF-18 fighter jets were scrambled on Saturday to escort two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack nuclear bombers.
The Russian jets were flying near an area off the North American coastline that is regularly patrolled by the Royal Canadian Air Force, according to US media reports.
The encounter ended without any conflicts. NORAD admitted in its statement that the Russian bombers remained in international airspace and did not enter US or Canadian territory.
NORAD states on its mission statement that it uses advanced radars, satellites and fighter jets to monitor aircraft flying in and out of US or Canadian airspace.
"NORAD's top priority is defending Canada and the United States. Our ability to protect our nations starts with successfully detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft of interest approaching U.S. and Canadian airspace," General Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, the NORAD commander, said in a statement.
This is not the first time that Russian and American military forces come in close contact. In fact, such incidents have increased in number over the past years as a result of growing tensions between the two sides in the Middle East and the Pacific region.
American aircraft and warships have been flying close to Russian territories in the Black Sea region on a regular basis, prompting similar responses from Moscow.
Days ago, Russia warned US Navy destroyer USS Donald Cook against approaching Russian coasts, stressing that Moscow is closely watching and monitoring the warship's actions.
In early November, A Russian Su-27 fighter jet intercepted a US Navy EP-3E Aries spy plane that was approaching the Russian territories during NATO military drills in the Black Sea.
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