Six Russian fighter jets were intercepted by US Air Force near Alaska while two bombers were spotted by Canada's air force almost reaching their respective airspaces on Wednesday, various reports are saying. The incident has sparked cross-border concerns of if the two north-American nations were under threat from their long term Cold-War era foe.
The Russian aircraft flew within about 55 nautical miles of the Alaskan coastline and about 40 nautical miles of the Canadian coastline, the CNN reported citing Capt. Jeff Davis of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD.
The jets intercepted by the US entered what is known as the Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), but did not enter US air space, reports have noted.
Two Alaskan-based F-22 fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the six aircraft -- two Russian IL-78 refuelling tankers, two Russian Mig-31 fighter jets and two Russian Bear long-range bombers -- a statement from NORAD said. The planes flew in a loop before turning towards Russia.
Meanwhile, two Canadian CF-18 fighter jets were also sent to check the possible threat from two Russian Bear long-range bombers in the Beaufort Sea. It is not clear if the jets spotted by Canada were two among those intercepted by the US.
The ADIZ is a zone of airspace, which extends approximately 200 miles from the coastline and is mainly within international airspace, the statement further said, adding that NORAD has intercepted more than 50 Russian aircraft in the last five years.
On the same day, Swedish foreign Ministry said that two Russian military aircraft had crossed into Swedish air space south of the Baltic Sea island of Oland. The ministry denounced the incident as a "serious violation" adding that it has summoned the Russian ambassador over the incident.