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Russian fighter jets intercept US bomber over Pacific

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)
An American B-52 bomber (File photo)

Three Russian SU-35S fighter jets have intercepted a US B-52H strategic bomber which was approaching Russia's border in the Pacific Ocean, the Russian Defense Ministry says.

RIA news agency, citing the ministry on Sunday reported that Russian radars spotted an air target approaching Russian borders over the Pacific, and three Su-35S fighters of Russia's Eastern Military District took off in response.

The Russian pilots identified the target as a US Air Force B-52H strategic bomber and then escorted it.

It said the bomber was subsequently chased away from the border, while the Russian jets had returned to their bases.

No violation of Russian borders was allowed and the Russian aircraft strictly complied with international rules for the use of airspace, it said.

The United States’ relations with Russia have grown increasingly tense over the past few years.

Russia sees NATO's willingness to enlarge eastward as the continuation of the Western Cold War containment policy and the spread of a western military bloc along its border.

Russia's fears have also been stoked by plans by the United States to install interceptor missiles and radar stations in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Senior Russian officials have warned that states hosting parts of a US missile defense systems also risked facing a military response if Moscow's security concerns were not met.

Relations between Moscow and Kiev have also been strained since conflict erupted in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region between Ukrainian government forces and ethnic Russians in 2014. The US, the European Union, and Ukraine claim that Russia has a hand in the conflict. Moscow strongly rejects the allegation.

That same year, the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted to join Russia in a referendum, further complicating relations.

In June, Russia said that it had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of a British warship to chase it out of Black Sea waters off the coast of Crimea.

Moscow and Washington have deep-seated differences over a host of other issues as well, including arms control, human rights, and cybersecurity.

Last week, a senior Russian security official said that the new military pact between Australia, Britain and the US was a hostile step aimed both at China and Russia.      

Nikolay Patrushev, secretary of Russia's Security Council, said on Tuesday that the AUKUS alliance of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States was a military bloc directed against Russia and China, stressing that the “venture” puts the entire security architecture in Asia at risk.

The partnership agreement has been viewed as an effort to counter China, which called it “extremely irresponsible.”

The AUKUS alliance has also sparked concern in the other parts of the world, with many countries warning that the trilateral pact could lead to a situation very similar to the US-Russian arms race during the Cold War.

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