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Russian warplanes intercept US heavy bombers over Black Sea: Ministry

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)
This still shows a US B-1B Lancer strategic bomber (background) and a Russian Sukhoi warplane during an encounter over the Black Sea, on May 29, 2020.

Russian fighter jets have intercepted a pair of US B-1B Lancer strategic bombers over the neutral waters of the Black Sea, the Russian Defense Ministry says.

On Friday, Russian Sukhoi Su-27 and Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two US B-1B Lancer supersonic heavy bombers, which had approached Russia’s airspace over the Black and Baltic Seas, the ministry said in a statement.

The Russian warplanes approached the American bombers at a safe distance and accompanied them until both В-1В Lancers veered away from the Russian border, the ministry added.

"The flights of Russian combat aircraft were conducted strictly in accordance with international rules for the use of airspace. After completing the task, the Russian Aerospace Force fighters returned safely to their home airfields,” the statement further read.

The Russian fighter jets also recorded a short video of the high-altitude encounter with the American nuclear-capable warplanes, which were heading in the direction of Russian airspace.

American bombers and spy planes, as well as NATO aircraft, have been frequently detected in the vicinity of Russia’s borders in recent years.

The flights, which Russia deems provocative, have increased since 2014, when Crimea rejoined Russia following a referendum and the ongoing military conflict in eastern Ukraine broke out.

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