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Russian jets flew a rare mission over the Korean Peninsula during US-South Korean war games

August 29, 2017

Russian bombers flew a mission over the Korean Peninsula last week, while the U.S. and South Korea conduct their annual war games, or military exercises.

Moscow said Tu-95 bombers and Sukhoi-35S fighter jets flew over the Pacific Ocean, Sea of Japan and East China Sea, which forced Japan and South Korea to scramble jets, according to a report.

Moscow has told the U.S. not to take military action against North Korea, and has also said the military drills with South Korea increase tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Russia shares a border with North Korea.

“Our long-range aviation pilots, according to an established plan, regularly carry out flights over neutral waters over the Atlantic, the Arctic, the Black Sea and the Pacific Ocean from their bases and from tactical airfields,” the ​Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, according to the report.

“The US and South Korea holding yet more large-scale military and naval exercises does not help reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” ​said ​Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, according to the report.​ “We urge all sides to exercise maximum caution. Given the arms buildup in the region, any rash move or even an unintended incident could spark a military conflict.”

Most recently, North Korea launched four missiles during the war games. Three were launched on Aug. 26, and one of those missiles exploded shortly after it was launched, U.S. officials said.

The fourth missile was an intermediate-range Hwasong-12 ballistic missile, which flew over Japan on Aug. 28.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that “all options are on the table” when it comes to dealing with North Korea. This statement comes the day after North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan in what has been called its most provocative missile test yet.

Rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea continues to be jarring and instigating. Just as one country seemingly calms the conversation, another jabs back with another punch.

The following is a summarized timeline of some of the back-and-forth: