On Thursday, U.S. F-35 jets intercepted Russian aircraft, including a nuclear-capable TU-95 bomber, SU-30, and SU-35 fighter jets, near Alaska for the second time this week. According to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), other U.S. planes deployed included an E-3 AWACS plane and two KC-135 stratotankers. The planes were intercepted near Alaska’s Air Defense Identification Zone, known as the ADIZ. NORAD stated that the Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace.
NORAD noted that this type of activity appears to be routine and is “not seen as a threat” nor is it “seen as provocative.” It also clarified that the two incidents this week are “in no way connected to recent NORAD and U.S. Northern Command operations” that shot down airborne objects over the United States and Canada in recent days. Russia’s Ministry of Defense has not made any public comments about this latest incident.
Russia stated on Wednesday that it had carried out several flights over international waters in recent days, including in the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia. It noted that its air force has made similar moves near Alaska’s airspace about six to seven times per year.
North American security forces have been on high alert since a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon crossed into U.S. airspace, prompting the United States to shoot it and other objects down as it combs the skies. Dutch F-35 fighter jets were also scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft near NATO airspace earlier this week.
NATO member states have ramped up military exercises in the Arctic in recent years, as Russia has expanded and renewed its military infrastructure in the region.
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