US fighters intercept Russian bombers off the coast of Alaska
Two Russian TU-95 Bear bombers were intercepted in international airspace off the coast of Alaska yesterday and escorted out of the U.S. air defense zone.
The Russian long-range bombers flew into the Air Defense Identification Zone, which extends approximately 200 miles off Alaska's western coast.
"At approximately 10 a.m. ET, two Alaskan-based NORAD F-22 fighters intercepted and visually identified two Russian TU-95 'Bear' long-range bomber aircraft flying in the Air Defense Identification Zone around the western coast of Alaska, north of the Aleutian Islands," NORAD and USNORTHCOM spokesman Canadian Army Maj. Andrew Hennessy said in a statement.
The Russian aircraft were "intercepted and monitored by the F-22s until the bombers left the ADIZ along the Aleutian Island chain heading west," and never entered US airspace, according to the statement.
The last such intercept of Russian aircraft by US jets took place on May 3, 2017.
Russia has constantly been testing our air and sea defenses, but rarely so close to U.S. airspace. There have been numerous instances of U.S. intercepts of Russian aircraft in the Baltic, where Vladimir Putin has been putting pressure on Eastern European countries like Poland and the Czech Republic.
And there have been several instances of Russian fighters buzzing U.S. warships in that region.
Putin isn't so much "testing" U.S. air defenses as he is reminding the U.S. that Russia has a powerful military as well with the ability to strike the U.S. at any time.