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US intercepts 4 Russian bombers, 2 fighter jets off Alaska coast

US F-22 intercepts Russian Tu-95 bomber, May 20, 2019. (North American Aerospace Defense Command/Released)
May 21, 2019

The U.S. intercepted six Russian aircraft off Alaska’s coast on Monday.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said in a statement that it “positively identified and intercepted a total of four Tupolev Tu-95 bombers and two Su-35 fighters entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on May 20,” CNN reported Tuesday.

The ADIZ stretches some 200 miles off the coast of western Alaska.

NORAD confirmed the incident Tuesday morning via Twitter.

“NORAD fighters intercepted Russian bombers+fighters entering Alaskan ADIZ May 20. 2x Tu-95s were intercepted by 2x F-22s; a second group of 2x Tu-95+2x Su-35 was intercepted later by 2 more F-22’s; NORAD E-3 provided overall surveillance. The aircraft remained in int’l airspace,” NORAD said in a tweet.

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NORAD Commander Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy said, “Our ability to deter and defeat threats to our citizens and vital infrastructure starts with detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft our airspace. We are on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

The Russian Ministry of Defense also confirmed in the incident.

“Four strategic missile carriers of the Russian made scheduled sorties over the neutral waters of the Chukotka, Bering and Okhotsk seas, as well as along the western coast of Alaska and the northern coast of the Aleutian Islands,” the MOD tweeted.

“At certain stages of the route, Russian aircraft were escorted by #F22 fighter jets of the #USAF. The total flight time exceeded 12 hours,” they added.

U.S. military aircraft routinely monitor air traffic in the ADIZ and have repeatedly escorted Russian aircraft in the area before.