US military intercepts four Russian fighter jets, second incident in two days

The Pentagon said Thursday that the US military intercepted four Russian aircraft on Valentine’s Day as they were approaching the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

The Russian aircraft included TU-95 BEAR-H, SU-30 fighter aircraft and SU-35 fighter aircraft, according to a statement from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

Two F-35 fighter jets were used to intercept the Russian aircraft, supported by two other F-16 fighters, one E-3 Sentry (AWACS) and two KC-135 Stratotankers.

NORAD said that the Russian aircraft did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace.

This is the second intercept of Russian aircraft this week, which NORAD said was not seen as provocative. Two F-16 fighter jets intercepted four Russian aircraft near Alaska on Monday.

“As before, NORAD had anticipated this Russian activity and, as a result of our planning, was prepared to intercept it,” the statement read.

But NORAD assessed that the latest intercept was “in no way related” to the recent operations with airborne objects over the US and Canada during the last two weeks.

A Chinese spy balloon was spotted coming across the US two weeks ago and was shot down off the coast of South Carolina after it traveled across the country. In the days after this incident, US forces shot down multiple unidentified airborne objects near the US-Canada border.

NORAD said on Thursday that it carries out an average of six to seven intercepts of Russian military aircraft in the ADIZ per year.

“We remain ready to employ a number of response options in defense of North America and Arctic sovereignty,” NORAD said.

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