The US Air Force intercepted and escorted two Russian bomber jets flying near Alaska as tensions heighten with Moscow.
The two Tu-95 Bear-H bombers were ‘positively’ identified flying in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Monday, according to NORAD – a combined defense organization between America and Canada.
Two USAF F-16 jets intercepted it before it could enter American or Canadian airspace, but the planes ‘remained in international airspace.’
NORAD did not see the spotting of the two jets as a ‘threat, nor is the activity provocative.’
The two Russian Tu-95 Bear-H bombers (stock photo) were ‘positively’ identified flying in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Monday
‘NORAD tracks and positively identifies foreign military aircraft that enter the ADIZ. NORAD routinely monitors foreign aircraft movements and as necessary, escorts them from the ADIZ,’ the organization said.
The spotting comes as tensions build since Russia invaded Ukraine.
The US has provided billions in aid to Ukraine and continues to impose sanctions on Russia.
Vladimir Putin recently warned of ‘global catastrophe’ if NATO troops clash directly with Russia, adding that he sees no need to carry out massive strikes against Ukraine ‘for now.’
The Russian strongman also said the recent military mobilization he ordered is coming to an end, and he has no plans for further conscriptions once it has finished.
He also repeated the Kremlin position that Russia was willing to hold talks, although he said they would require international mediation if Ukraine was willing to take part.
Two USAF F-16 jets (stock photo) intercepted it before it could enter American or Canadian airspace, but the planes ‘remained in international airspace’
He said he currently saw no need for ‘massive strikes’ on Ukraine now having hit their intended targets earlier in the last week – but that could change in the future – and insisted that it was not his goal to destroy Ukraine.
‘There is no need now for massive strikes. There are other tasks. For now. And then it will be clear,’ he said, adding: ‘We do not set ourselves the task of destroying Ukraine. No, of course not,’ Putin said at the The Commonwealth of Independent States Summit.
Fears have risen in throughout the war over the possibility of Moscow launching nuclear strikes, especially suffering a series of embarrassing setbacks in Putin’s invasion.
It was revealed on Friday – shortly before he spoke in Astana – that Putin has increased the number of his strategic nuclear bombers stationed at an airbase near the Finnish and Norwegian borders, satellite images show.
He went on to say that the ‘partial mobilization’ he announced last month, which the defense minister said aimed to recruit 300,000 soldiers, was finishing and would be over within two weeks.
‘Nothing additional is planned. No proposals have been received from the defense ministry and I don’t see any additional need in the foreseeable future.
‘Now 222,000 people have been mobilized out of 300,000. Within about two weeks, all mobilization activities will be completed.’ A total of 33,000 of them are already in military units and 16,000 are involved in the military operation in Ukraine, he said.
He said his decision to call-up of reserve forces to fight in Ukraine, criticized as chaotic by some Kremlin allies, had been vital to hold the front line. ‘The line of contact is 680 miles so it is practically impossible to hold it with forces formed only of contract soldiers, especially since they take part in offensive activities,’ Putin claimed.
Asked if he had any regrets over ordering the invasion of his neighboring country on February 24, Putin said: ‘No.’ He acknowledged that the war us unpleasant, but said he believed what his forces were doing was right.
‘I want to make it clear: what is happening today is unpleasant, to put it mildly, but we would have got the same thing a little later, only in worse conditions for us, that’s that,’ he said. ‘So we are acting correctly and in a timely manner.’
NORAD did not view the spotting as a ‘threat’ and said the activity was not ‘provocative’
Putin said he ‘doesn’t see the need’ for talks with US President Joe Biden over an end to the war, but suggested he was open to talks with Kyiv.
‘We should ask him if he’s ready to hold such talks with me or not. I don’t see the need, to be honest,’ Putin said, asked about a potential meeting with Biden on the sidelines of a G20 summit in November. He added that his participation in the summit hosted by Indonesia is not yet decided.
‘The question of my trip there has not been finalized. Russia will certainly take part. As for the format, we’re still thinking about it,’ Putin told reporters following a summit in Kazakhstan.
Speaking earlier this week, Biden said he had ‘no intention’ of meeting with Putin but did not rule out potential talks.
He also attacked Germany for siding with NATO.
‘(Germany) must decide what is more important for them: the fulfillment of alliance obligations, as they see it, or their national interests. In this case, it seems that Germany placed its obligations to the (NATO) alliance above all. I believe that this is a mistake,’ he said.
‘German citizens, businesses, and its economy are paying for this mistake, because it has negative economic consequences for the eurozone as a whole, and in Germany. But very few people take into account its interests, otherwise Nord Stream 1 and 2 would not have been undermined.
‘But although one branch remains, as I said, in working order, a decision has not been made and is unlikely to be made. But this is no longer our business, this is the business of our partners.’
Meanwhile, Lukashenko warned Ukraine and the West on Friday not to force his ally Russia into a corner, saying Moscow had nuclear weapons for a reason.