US F-22 stealth jets intercepted four Russian bombers and two Russian Su-35 fighter jets off the Alaskan coast for the second day in a row on Tuesday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) confirmed.
The U.S.-Canadian airspace defense agency said two Russian nuclear capable long-range bombers accompanied by two Su-35 fighter jets entered into the Air Defense Identification Zone, which extends approximately 200 miles off Alaska’s western coast and were intercepted by two NORAD F-22s.
The planes left the ADIZ but returned shortly after, making “the fourth and fifth intercepts this year” of Russian military aircraft in the aviation buffer zone around Alaska. The Russian planes did not at any time cross into sovereign U.S. airspace; the ADIZ around Alaska, like similar zones monitored by NORAD around North America, are international airspace.
Tensions between Moscow and Washington remains high on various geopolitical issues including Syrian war and Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro. Putin has been opposing NATO’s presence in eastern and northern Europe and has reopened three former Soviet military bases along its vast Arctic coastline.
US military officials consider aerial encounters as part of Moscow’s policy of sending a message of strength to adversaries.