SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Two US jets intercepted six Russian planes that came close to US airspace off Alaska on Thursday and Canadian planes intercepted two Russian bombers that approached Canadian airspace, NORAD reported.
A US official told CNN’s Barbara Starr that officials in Washington think the incidents were related to the visit by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who talked to Canadian officials Wednesday and President Barack Obama on Thursday. The United States promised Ukraine $46 million in nonlethal aid for its battle with pro-Russian militants.
The Russian aircraft flew within about 55 nautical miles of the Alaskan coastline and about 40 nautical miles of the Canadian coastline, said Capt. Jeff Davis of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD. Two Alaskan-based F-22 fighter jets intercepted two Russian IL-78 refueling tankers, two Russian Mig-31 fighter jets and two Russian Bear long-range bombers, a statement from NORAD said. The Russian planes flew in a loop and returned toward Russia.
Two Canadian CF-18 fighter jets intercepted two Russian Bear long-range bombers in the Beaufort Sea, the statement said. Though the planes did not enter sovereign territory, the statement said, they did enter the US Air Defense Identification Zone west of Alaska and the Canadian ADIZ, according to a statement. The ADIZ is a zone of airspace which extends approximately 200 miles from the coastline and is mainly within international airspace, according to the statement. The outer limits of the ADIZ go beyond US sovereign air space.
State aircraft of sovereign nations are not required to file flight plans. NORAD said it has intercepted more than 50 Russian aircraft in the last five years. NORAD jets usually intercept one or two Russian planes, normally bombers.