U.S. jets have intercepted two Russian Tu-95 bombers accompanied by two Su-35 fighters that flew near the Alaskan coast, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) says.
This was the first time in several years that Russian bombers flying by were accompanied by fighter aircraft, officials said.
The Russian aircraft flew within 80 kilometers of the Alaskan coastline on May 2, officials said on May 4.
That was outside U.S. territorial airspace, which begins 20 kilometers from shore, but within a 320-kilometer zone where the U.S. military requires aircraft to identify themselves.
The four Russian aircraft, including the nuclear-capable bombers, were intercepted by two F-22 Raptor fighters.
NORAD spokesman Captain Scott Miller described the interaction with the Russian aircraft as "professional," and said that had historically been the case in encounters with Russian military aircraft off Alaska.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the flight over neutral waters of the Pacific Ocean along the Aleutian Islands was "routine" and in compliance with international airspace rules.
After a two-year lull, Russian military activity has increased significantly off Alaska's coast this spring. Russian military aircraft flew four flights near Alaska in four consecutive days the week of April 17, triggering various responses by NORAD.
Based on reporting by ABC News, the Washington Examiner, and TASS