LONDON (AP) — Britain's Royal Air Force scrambled two fighter jets to intercept Russian strategic bombers near UK airspace on Monday, in another illustration of ongoing tensions.
The RAF confirmed that it sent Typhoon aircraft from the Lossiemouth base in Scotland on a "quick reaction alert" as two Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack bombers approached Britain.
"The Russian aircraft were initially monitored by a variety of friendly nation fighters and subsequently intercepted by the RAF in the North Sea," the air force said. "At no point did the Russian aircraft enter sovereign UK airspace."
Russia's Defense Ministry said the pair of bombers flew over the Barents, Norwegian, and North seas during a 13-hour training mission that covered neutral waters, in line with international norms.
Encounters between Russian and NATO warplanes have become increasingly frequent as Moscow has demonstrated its resurgent military might.
Last week, the HMS Westminster, a Portsmouth-based Type 23 frigate, was ordered to intercept two Russian corvettes and two supporting vessels that neared UK waters en route to their Baltic base.