MOSCOW — The Russian military says two of its nuclear-capable strategic bombers have flown a patrol mission over the Bering Sea, where they were escorted by U.S. fighter jets.
The Defense Ministry said two Tu-95 bombers flew Thursday over international waters during a 10-hour mission that was part of the Ocean Shield exercise. It said U.S. F-22 and F-18 fighters escorted the Russian bombers at certain parts of their flight.
These were the “fourth and fifth intercepts this year,” according to NORAD officials.
Russia has significantly increased the number and scope of its military drills amid tensions with the U.S. and its NATO allies that followed Moscow's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula.
Russian warplanes routinely escort NATO’s aircraft near its borders, while U.S. and NATO military planes similarly shadow Russian aircraft. Such encounters occasionally trigger mutual accusations of unsafe maneuvers.