Russian Tu-95MS strategic Nuclear bombers made an observation flight along the western coast of Alaska and were shadowed by US F-22 fighter jets of the US Air Force at some sections of their flight, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
US fighter jets intercepted six Russian military aircraft in international airspace off the western coast of Alaska and shadowed them until they exited the area, according to American authorities.
NORAD fighters intercepted Russian bombers+fighters entering Alaskan ADIZ May 20. 2x Tu-95s were intercepted by 2x F-22s; a second group of 2x Tu-95+2x Su-35 was intercepted later by 2 more F-22’s; NORAD E-3 provided overall surveillance. The aircraft remained in int'l airspace pic.twitter.com/VrNuSWFOQm
— North American Aerospace Defense Command (@NORADCommand) May 21, 2019
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) made the announcement in a statement on Tuesday, saying that US F-22 stealth jets intercepted four Russian Tupolev Tu-95 bombers and two Russian Su-35 fighter jets after they had entered the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which extends approximately 320 kilometers off Alaska’s western coast.
On the other hand, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that “four Tu-95MS strategic missile carriers of the Russian Aerospace Forces made scheduled sorties over the neutral waters of the Chukotka, Bering and Okhotsk seas, as well as along the western coast of Alaska and the northern coast of the Aleutian Islands.” The entire flight lasted longer than 12 hours and “at certain stages of the route, Russian aircraft were escorted by F-22 fighter jets of the USAF.”
The ministry said “long-range pilots make regular flights over neutral waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, Black and Caspian seas and Pacific Ocean” and that such flights were “carried out in strict accordance with the International Airspace Management System without violating the borders of other states.”
The intercept comes amid growing tensions between Washington and Moscow.