The US Air Force has intercepted and escorted two Russian bombers flying near Alaska as tensions escalate with Moscow.
The two Tu-95 Bear-H bombers were “positively” identified flying in Alaska’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Monday, according to NORAD – a Combined Defense Organization between America and Canada.
Two USAF F-16 jets intercepted it before it could enter US or Canadian airspace, but the planes “remained in international airspace”.
NORAD did not consider the sighting of the two jets a “threat, nor is the activity a provocation”.
The two Russian Tu-95 Bear-H bombers (file photo) were ‘positively’ identified flying in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Monday
“NORAD tracks and positively identifies foreign military aircraft entering the ADIZ. NORAD regularly monitors the movements of foreign aircraft and, if necessary, escorts them from the ADIZ,” the organization said.
The spotting comes as tensions have been rising since Russia invaded Ukraine.
The United States has provided billions in aid to Ukraine and continues to impose sanctions on Russia.
Vladimir Putin recently warned of a “global catastrophe” if NATO troops clashed directly with Russia, adding that he saw no need for massive strikes against Ukraine “for now. “.
The Russian strongman also said that the recent military mobilization he had ordered was coming to an end and that he did not envisage further conscriptions once it was over.
He also repeated the Kremlin’s position that Russia was willing to hold talks, although he said they would require international mediation if Ukraine was willing to participate.
Two USAF F-16 jets (stock photo) intercepted it before it could enter US or Canadian airspace, but the planes ‘remained in international airspace’
He said he currently saw no need for ‘massive strikes’ against Ukraine, which had now achieved its targets at the start of last week – but that could change in the future – and insisted that his goal was not to destroy Ukraine.
“There is no need now for massive strikes. There are other tasks. For now. And then it will be clear,” he said, adding: “We are not setting ourselves the task to destroy Ukraine. No, of course not,” Putin said at the Commonwealth of Independent States summit.
Fears grew throughout the war about the possibility of Moscow launching nuclear strikes, especially as it suffered a series of embarrassing setbacks during Putin’s invasion.
It was revealed on Friday – shortly before his speech in Astana – that Putin had increased the number of his strategic nuclear bombers stationed at an airbase near the Finnish and Norwegian borders, satellite images show.
He went on to say that the “partial mobilisation” he announced last month, which the defense minister said was aimed at recruiting 300,000 troops, was and would be completed within two weeks.
‘Nothing more is planned. No proposals have been received from the MoD and I see no additional need in the foreseeable future.
“Now, 222,000 people are mobilized out of 300,000. In about two weeks, all mobilization activities will be completed. A total of 33,000 of them are already in military units and 16,000 are involved in the military operation in Ukraine, he said.
He said his decision to call up reserve forces to fight in Ukraine, criticized as chaotic by some Kremlin allies, had been vital to maintaining the frontline. “The line of contact is 680 miles, so it is practically impossible to hold it with forces formed solely of contract soldiers, especially since they are involved in offensive activities,” Putin asserted.
When asked if he regretted ordering the invasion of his neighboring country on February 24, Putin replied: “No”. He acknowledged that the war was unpleasant to us, but said he believed what his forces were doing was right.
“I want to be clear: what is happening today is unpleasant, to put it mildly, but we would have had the same thing a little later, but in worse conditions for us, that’s all”, did he declare. “So we are acting correctly and in a timely manner.”
NORAD did not consider the scouting a ‘threat’ and said the activity was not ‘provocative’
Putin said he “sees no need” for talks with US President Joe Biden on ending the war, but suggested he was open to talks with Kyiv.
‘We should ask him if he is ready to have such talks with me or not. I don’t see the need, to be honest,’ Putin said when asked about a possible meeting with Biden on the sidelines of a G20 summit in November. He added that his participation in the summit organized by Indonesia was not yet decided.
“The question of my trip there is not settled. Russia will certainly participate in it. As for the format, we are still thinking about it,” Putin told reporters following a summit in Kazakhstan.
Speaking earlier this week, Biden said he had “no intention” of meeting Putin but did not rule out possible talks.
He also attacked Germany for siding with NATO.
“(Germany) has to decide which is more important to them: meeting the obligations of the alliance, as they see it, or their national interests. In this case, it seems that Germany has placed its obligations to the alliance (NATO) above all else. I believe that is a mistake,” he said.
“German citizens, businesses and the economy are paying for this error, as it has negative economic consequences for the euro area as a whole and in Germany. But very few people take his interests into account, otherwise Nord Stream 1 and 2 would not have been harmed.
“But although a branch remains, as I said, in working order, no decision has been taken and it is unlikely to be taken. But it is no longer our business, it is the business of our partners.
Meanwhile, Lukashenko on Friday warned Ukraine and the West not to force his ally Russia into a corner, saying Moscow had nuclear weapons for a reason.