Two U.S. officials just announced that a pair of Russian nuclear-capable bombers were spotted flying near Alaska on Monday night, coming as close as 100 miles from Kodiak Island. This marks the first time Vladimir Putin has sent bombers this close to the U.S. since Donald Trump took office.
Fox News reported the U.S. Air Force scrambled to send two F-22 stealth fighter jets and an E-3 airborne early warning plane to intercept the Russian aircrafts. The two Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bombers flew around 280 miles southwest of Elmendorf Air Force Base, which is within the Air Defense Identification Zone of the U.S.
The U.S. Air Force jets flew next to the Russian bombers for 12 minutes until the latter reversed course and headed back to their base in eastern Russia.
This came a week after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said U.S.-Russian relations were at a “low point” while sitting next to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. During his visit to Moscow, three Russian bombers flew near the east coast of Japan, forcing the Japanese military to scramble 14 fighter jets at various times to intercept the bombers.
Russian bombers hadn’t flown near the U.S. since July 4, 2015, when a pair of Russian bombers flew off the coasts of Alaska and California, coming as close as 40 miles to Mendocino, California. As the Russian aircrafts flew along the coast, Putin called then-President Barack Obama to wish him a happy Independence Day.
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