The U.S. and Russia had tit-for-tat military flights near each other’s borders last week, with Russian fighter jets intercepting two U.S. bombers and two aerial refueling tankers flying near Russia and then Russian sending five of its own warplanes towards Alaska two days later.
On Tuesday, the Russian Ministry of Defense posted footage taken from the cockpit of a Su-30 fighter jet as it and another Su-30 fighter intercepted and escorted a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer and a KC-135 Stratotanker flying over the Black Sea near Russia.
“US Air Force aircraft escort over Black Sea neutral waters,” Russia’s Defense Ministry tweeted.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said it deployed its two fighter jets over neutral waters of the Black Sea to “prevent violations of the State Border of the Russian Federation.”
“Russian fighter crews identified the air targets as two B-1B two supersonic strategic bombers accompanied by two KC-135 tanker aircraft of the U.S. Air Force and escorted them over the Black sea,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said. “After the turn of foreign military aircraft from the State Border of the Russian Federation, the Russian fighter jet returned safely to its home airfield.”
Russia said it carried out its intercepts in accordance with international law and the U.S. aircraft did not cross into Russian-controlled airspace.
Two days after the two Russian fighter jets escorted the four U.S. aircraft away from its Black Sea border, Russia sent five of its own military aircraft towards the U.S.
In a statement released on Thursday evening, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Region detected, tracked and identified five Russian aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
NORAD did not specify what types of Russian aircraft were identified entering the ADIZ near Alaska, but said the Russian aircraft departed the ADIZ after operating in the area for approximately an hour and a half, between 5:53 p.m. Alaska Standard Time and leaving at about 7:21 p.m.
Air Force Lt. Gen David Krumm, commander, Alaskan NORAD Region, Alaskan Command and 11th Air Force said, “We remain vigilant in our execution of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America in order to deter strategic competitors from threatening the shared interest of the U.S., our allies and partners.”
The NORAD statement noted it employs a “layered defense network” that includes satellites, ground-based radars and fighter aircraft to track and identify foreign aircraft and be prepared to respond. NORAD did not specify whether any U.S. aircraft were deployed in response to this Russian action inside the Alaskan ADIZ.
Such military flights between the U.S. and Russia have been commonplace in recent years, with U.S. aircraft intercepting Russian aircraft near Alaska and Russian aircraft intercepting U.S. aircraft both over the Pacific and near its European land borders.