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British Jets Intercept 8 Russian 'Bears'

Kremlin's renewed long-range recon flights buzz Britain, Norway
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2007 3:42 PM CDT

(Newser) – British fighter jets intercepted eight Russian recon bombers today as they approached British airspace in the latest long-distance forays to display Vladimir Putin's renewed virility in air power. Authorities said the aircraft did not enter British airspace, the Guardian writes. Norwegian planes monitored the same eight bombers in international airspace north of Norway.

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Russia resumed sending the Tupolev-95 "Bears" on long-range flights earlier this year, after a 15-year hiatus. Putin attributed the decision to resume the Cold War practice to threats posed by US plans for a missile defense system near the Russian border. In May, Russian planes spied on British warships off the Scottish coast; in July, British aircraft warned off Russian bombers three times, during the dispute over the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. (Read more Russian military stories.)

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