Russian bomberAlaska
© Getty Images/KJN
Russian bombers near Alaska
US warplanes intercepted four Russian bombers and two jet fighters in international airspace off the coast of Alaska on Monday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a statement Tuesday.

The Russian planes - Tupolev Tu-95 bombers and Su-35 fighters - were intercepted by US F-22 fighter jets as they entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone that extends about 200 miles off the state's western coast, NORAD said.

They were "positively identified" by a US E-3 spy plane that was conducting overall surveillance.

"The Russian bombers and fighters remained in international airspace and at no time did the aircraft enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace," the statement said.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the incident in a tweet Tuesday. It said:
Aerospace Forces "made scheduled sorties over the neutral waters of the Chukotka, Bering and Okhotsk seas, as well as along the western coast of Alaska and the northern coast of the Aleutian Islands. At certain stages of the route, Russian aircraft were escorted by #F22 fighter jets of the #USAF. The total flight time exceeded 12 hours."
Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of NORAD, said
"Top priority is defending Canada and the United States. Our ability to deter and defeat threats to our citizens, vital infrastructure, and national institutions starts with successfully detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft of interest approaching U.S. and Canadian airspace."
F-22 jets intercepted two Russian planes west of Alaska twice last September, following a similar incident last May.