More Russian Spy Planes, Bombers Approach Alaskan Airspace
23 April, 2017, 03:31 | Author: Valerie Burke
Over the Baltic, just off the coastlines of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Russian military aircraft were intercepted 110 times by allied planes in 2016.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., told CNN's Wolf Blitzer earlier this week that the Russians are "trying to show their teeth", by flying near the U.S. Earlier in the week, US fighter jets were scrambled when Russian planes came 40 nautical miles from the coast of an Alaskan island.
Last night, the Russians sent out two long-range bombers again, and this time the Canadians joined in, sending fighter jets out with the Americans to intercept the Russian bombers about 700 miles southeast of Anchorage. USA airspace extends 12 miles from the US coastline.
The Russian jets in both incidents remained in global airspace.
Navy Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, says a pair of F-22 Raptor aircraft intercepted the Russian TU-95 Bear bombers on Monday. It was "an attempt to come up as close as they could to our worldwide borders to see what our reaction would be".
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The U.S. military says it intercepted two Russian bombers in worldwide airspace off Alaska's coast. One was a maritime patrol by two IL-38s, which are not bombers. One defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to CNN, dismissed the military threat posed by the aircraft, but criticized the act as "strategic messaging".
In both incidents, the U.S. Air Force did not scramble any fighter jets or airborne warning planes (AWACS).
The U.S. had also scrambled jets to meet two Tu-95 bombers on Monday, after which the Russian planes flew away.
As tensions threaten to reach boiling point over North Korea and Syria, Russian aircraft have been seen flying along the coastline of United States ally Japan four times this month.
The mid-air incidents comes just days after secretary of state Rex Tillerson said U.S. and Russian relations had reached a "low point".
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