US Jets Intercept 6 Russian Jets Near Alaska

Canada intercepts 2 more, while Sweden complains about 2 entering its airspace
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2014 6:33 AM CDT
US Jets Intercept 6 Russian Jets Near Alaska
Russian fighter jets fly near the Baikal Lake in Russia in this 2013 file photo.   (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)

Russian military pilots seem to be getting a little adventurous these days. A pair of US military jets intercepted six Russian aircraft near the coast of Alaska Wednesday evening, reports AP. The Russian pilots never entered US airspace, but instead remained in something called the Air Defense Identification Zone, which extends about 200 miles from the coast. Still, NORAD sent up two US jets "basically to let those aircraft know that we see them, and in case of a threat, to let them know we are there to protect our sovereign airspace," says a spokesperson. The six Russian planes—two fighter jets, two long-range bombers, and two refueling tankers—eventually looped back toward Russia.

Hours later, Canadian fighter jets intercepted two Russian long-range bombers over the Beaufort Sea, near the Canadian coast but again in the international zone. While such incidents aren't all that uncommon, one US official tells CNN that Moscow was likely expressing its displeasure about a visit by Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko to the US and Canada. Elsewhere, two Russian military aircraft entered Swedish air space without authorization, reports the BBC. Sweden's foreign ministry called it a "serious violation" and has summoned the Russian ambassador to complain. (Russia doesn't think Scotland's independence vote was up to snuff.)

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