“The Russian Air Force’s Tu-95MS strategic bomber aircraft have carried out scheduled flights over neutral waters in Arctic Ocean as well as the Bering and Okhotsk Seas. The aircraft were escorted by two US Air Force F-22 fighter jets on certain legs of their route,” said the ministry in a Friday statement as cited in a report by Russia’s Interfax news agency.
According to the statement, Russian long-range bombers often carry out routine patrols over the Arctic and the Atlantic as well as the Baltic Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
It further stressed that such sorties are carried out “in strict compliance with international regulations without violating foreign borders.”
US-based news website Washington Free Beacon reported earlier on the encounter, citing a NORAD spokesman as saying Thursday that the American war planes intercepted the Russian bombers off the Alaska coast.
“Two Alaskan-based NORAD F-22 fighters intercepted and visually identified two Tu-95 ‘Bear’ long-range bomber aircraft flying in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone, south of the Aleutian Islands,” said Michael Kucharek, as quoted by the right-wing media outlet.
Kucharek, however, did not reveal how far the Russian bombers were from Alaska’s western coastline, only saying that the F-22s shadowed the Tu-95s until they left NORAD’s identification zone.
“At no time did the Russian bombers enter Canadian or United States sovereign airspace,” he added.
The incident marked the second time Russian bombers were intercepted by US jet fighters this year. Back in May, two Tu-95s bombers were also shadowed off the coast of Alaska by a pair of F-22s.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced that its special forces took part in military exercises in an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean Sea while demonstrating a footage of the drills.
The ministry further declared that the Russian troops practiced counter-measures against saboteurs and pirates, as well as the landing of naval forces and hostage rescue drills.
This came amid Washington’s claim of an impending chemical attack in Syria’s terrorist-held province of Idlib by the government forces. Russia’s UN envoy, Vasily Nebenzya, told the UN Security Council session on Syria on Thursday the United States should disclose the list of its possible targets in Syria if it believes that chemical weapons are being stored there.
Reports say foreign-backed terrorists active in Idlib are making preparations for staging a chemical weapons attack that could be blamed on Damascus, providing the West with an excuse for an aggression against Syria.