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4 Russian military aircraft entered Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone

Russia's President Vladimir Putin. (Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/Abaca Press/TNS)
August 15, 2023

A group of four Russian military aircraft flew in the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Sunday evening and Monday morning, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

NORAD said the Russian planes “remained in international airspace and did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace,” adding that the activity is common and “not seen as a threat.”

“An ADIZ begins where sovereign airspace ends and is a defined stretch of international airspace that requires the ready identification of all aircraft in the interest of national security,” NORAD said.

“NORAD employs a layered defense network of satellites, ground-based and airborne radars and fighter aircraft to track aircraft and inform appropriate actions. NORAD remains ready to employ a number of response options in defense of North America,” officials added.

The Russian activity near Alaska comes one week after 11 Russian and Chinese naval ships patrolled close to the state’s coast.

According to The Wall Street Journal, U.S. officials noted that the 11 Russian and Chinese ships sailed near the Aleutian Islands. The ships never passed into U.S. territorial waters; however, the ships were reportedly shadowed by P-8 Poseidon aircraft, as well as four U.S. destroyer ships before leaving the region.

“It is a historical first,” said Brent Sadler, retired Navy captain and senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. “Given the context of the war in Ukraine and tensions around Taiwan, this move is highly provocative.”

A U.S. Northern Command spokesperson confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that Russia and China had executed a combined patrol near the coast of Alaska.

“Air and maritime assets under our commands conducted operations to assure the defense of the United States and Canada,” the command spokesperson said. “The patrol remained in international waters and was not considered a threat.”

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.