MOSCOW — The Russian military says that two nuclear-capable strategic bombers have flown to the easternmost Chukotka Peninsula, near Alaska, as part of an air force exercise.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Tu-160 bombers flew about 7,000 kilometers (4,350 miles) from their home base near Saratov in southwestern Russia to Anadyr, on Chukotka, before returning to their home base. The ministry said the mission was the first time the bombers had flown to Chukotka, which faces Alaska across the Bering Strait.

The ministry said the air force exercise also involved the Tu-95 strategic bombers and tanker planes.

The Russian military has increased the intensity and scope of its drills amid strain in relations with the U.S. and its allies. The flight demonstrated that Russian bombers could be deployed close to the U.S.

An Ilyushin Il-78 Midas air force tanker and a Tupolev Tu-95MS Bear strategic bomber fly during the military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of victory in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, May 9, 2015, in Moscow. (RIA Novosti via Getty Images)
An Ilyushin Il-78 Midas air force tanker and a Tupolev Tu-95MS Bear strategic bomber fly during the military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of victory in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, May 9, 2015, in Moscow. (RIA Novosti via Getty Images)