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Two Russian Bombers, Two Jets Intercepted Off Alaska, U.S. Says

By RFE/RL June 11, 2020

U.S. fighter jets intercepted Russian jets and bombers twice on June 10 off the coast of Alaska, the U.S. air defense command said.

Two Russian Tu-95 bombers, two Russian Su-35 fighter jets, and an A-50 airborne early-warning and control aircraft came within 32 kilometers of the coast of Alaska in the first incident, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), said on Twitter.

A second formation consisting of two Tu-95s and an A-50 also came within 32 kilometers of Alaska.

None of the aircraft entered U.S. airspace, NORAD said in a series of tweets.

NORAD commander General Terrence O'Shaughnessy said intercepting multiple Russian aircraft demonstrates NORAD forces' readiness and "sends a clear message we continue executing our homeland defense missions with the same capability and capacity we always bring to the fight."

The U.S. has intercepted multiple Russian aircraft off the Alaskan coast since 2019.

Russia's Defense Ministry said four Tu-95MSs strategic missile-carrying bombers conducted 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, the ministry said, according to TASS.

"At some sections of the route, the Russian aircraft were escorted by U.S. Air Force F-22 fighters," the ministry said.

The Russian bombers took off from airfields in the Chukotka Autonomous District and the Amur region, the ministry said.

It said Russian military planes perform all flights in strict compliance with international rules and without violating the airspace of other states.

In May, U.S. Air Force strategic bombers performed flights along the Russian borders five times, the ministry said.

Earlier on June 10, Estonia's army reported that a Russian aircraft had violated its airspace.

The army said a Tu-204-300 jet airliner flew into the airspace of the NATO member without permission.

Tallinn's Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to Estonia and gave him a note, the army statement said.

This was the first incursion by Russian aircraft into Estonia's airspace this year, according to the statement.

The violation occurred over the island of Vaindloo in the Baltic Sea and lasted less than a minute.

With reporting by dpa, AFP, and TASS

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/u-s -air-defense-says-russian-aircraft- intercepted-near-alaska/30664589.html

Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.



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