US fighter jets intercepted and escorted two Russian bombers in international airspace off the coast of Alaska.The To-95 bombers flew 100 miles (160 km) from Kodiak Island, Alaska, before they were intercepted by two US F-22 Raptor aircraft on Monday (17 April).US pilots took Russian planes for 12 minutes before the Tu-95 flew out and left for eastern Russia.
According to CNN, Russian aircraft were within the international air space but within the air defense identification zone in Alaska, which means that they must theoretically determine their destination. The aircraft were 280 miles southwest of the Elmendorf air base when the Raptors rushed. Russian aircraft also flew close to the Yotian Islands.
Pentagon spokesman Garry Ross said the intercept was “safe and professional”. US officials also said the Russians acted professionally, although there was no radio connection “cockpit into the cockpit”.The incident on Monday was not the first. On July 4, 2015 Russian bombers appeared off California and Alaska.
On that occasion, Russian planes approached within 40 miles of the American coast. According to the CNN, the Russians are sending a message saying “Good morning, American pilots, and we are here to greet you on the occasion of the Independence Day of July 4th.”
Relations between the United States and Russia continue to deteriorate after the missile attack on US cruise missiles in Syria and Russia in the conflict. Earlier in April, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson admitted that relations with Moscow were at a low point. Russian planes were intercepted off the British coast on frequent occasions.