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Britain Scrambles Fighter Jets To Escort Russian Bombers

Britain says it has scrambled fighter jets to shadow two long-range Russian Bear bombers that were flying near England's southern coast, the second such incident this year.

The Defense Ministry said in the latest incident, which happened late on February 18, Royal Air Force planes "escorted" the Russian planes out of the British "area of interest" and that at no time did the Russian aircraft go into British airspace.

Britain summoned the Russian ambassador in January after a similar event when Russian bombers flew over the English Channel.

NATO-member country planes have intercepted Russian aircraft many times in the past year amid heightened tensions between Moscow and the West over Russia's involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said on February 19 that Russian President Vladimir Putin poses a "real and present" danger to the Baltic states and is "testing" NATO.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa

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