Sun, Sep 21, 2014 - Page 7 News List

US intercepts two Russian fighter jets near Alaska

AFP, WASHINGTON

Two Russian fighters entered a US air defense identification zone two days ago and were intercepted by US F-22 jets near Alaska, military officers said on Friday.

The incursion on Wednesday was followed by a second incident on Thursday involving two Russian long-range bombers, which flew into Canada’s air defense identification zone and were intercepted by two Canadian F-18 jets, officers said.

In both cases, the Russian aircraft flew out of the area without incident.

The Russian warplanes “never entered US sovereign air space” or Canadian air space, North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesman Major Jamie Humphries said.

In Wednesday’s encounter near Alaska, the Russian fighters were accompanied by two refueling tankers and two long-range bombers, he said.

Although Russian aircraft have entered the zone previously it was “the first time in a long time” that fighter jets passed through the area, said a US defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

To safeguard a country’s air space, air defense identification zones extend beyond territorial air space and are designed as a buffer to give a government more time to respond to potentially hostile aircraft.

However, the zones do not fall under international treaties and are not regulated under international law.

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