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US jets intercept Russian bombers off California, Alaska coasts: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Tupolev Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber remains an important part of Russia's air power. (file photo)

The US Air Force reportedly scrambled fighter jets to intercept two pairs of Russian bombers that flew off the coast of California and Alaska on July 4.

The first incident occurred off the coast of Alaska, forcing the Air Force to send two F-22 jets from their base in Alaska to intercept two Tupolev Tu-95 long-range nuclear bombers, Fox News reports, citing US defense officials.

The second incident happened off the central coast of California, where another pair of Tu-95 Bear bombers were intercepted by two F-15 jets.

A defense official said that neither pair of Russian bombers entered US airspace--12 nautical miles off the coast.

Such incidents are not an uncommon occurrence between Russia and the United States.

A US Air Force reconnaissance aircraft encountered with a Russian fighter jet over the Black Sea in May, American military officials said last month.

According to officials, the Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet, flying at high speed, flew alongside the US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft at the same altitude, and shadowed the plane before leaving the area.

Also in May, the Russian military deployed Su-24 jets to ward off the US Navy destroyer USS Ross in the Black Sea after it was found heading into Russia’s territorial waters, according to several Russian media outlets.

The number of flights by Russian bombers over the US Air Defense Identification Zone doubled last year from their norm, according to data from the North American Aerospace Defense Command, known as NORAD.

Congressional hawks see the moves as a veiled message by Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine.


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