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Swedish Fighter Jets Intercept Russian Bombers

Sweden's military says its fighter jets intercepted two Russian bombers flying in international air space over the Baltic Sea close to the Swedish border on May 21.

Sweden, which is not a member of NATO, said it had intercepted two Tu-22M Backfire bombers heading in the direction of the Swedish island of Oland, south of Stockholm.

Military spokesman Jesper Tengroth said "they were up identifying these airplanes -- telling them 'Hey, we see you.'"

Russia has been critical of closer ties between Sweden and NATO, which staged one of its biggest-ever antisubmarine exercises in the North Sea earlier this month, inviting Sweden to join for the first time.

Russian military activity in the Baltic has increased amid tensions between Moscow and the West following Russia's annexation of Crimea last year in March and its role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Based on reporting by Reuters and