Two Russian strategic bombers circled the U.S. island of Guam last week in what U.S. defense officials say is the latest in a series of nuclear provocations by Moscow.
The bombers were identified by air defenses as Tu-95 Bear H nuclear-capable aircraft that circumnavigated the strategic U.S. military outpost on Friday—amid heightened tensions with Moscow regarding a new buildup of Russian forces in and along the border of eastern Ukraine.
“U.S. Pacific Command can confirm that two aircraft circumnavigated Guam on November 13th,” said spokesman Maj. Christian Devine. “The aircraft were flying safely in international airspace and in accordance with international norms; as such, the decision was made to not intercept them.”
Friday’s flights were the second time in the past two years that Russia conducted unusual long-range bomber missions around the island. Two Tu-95s circled the island on Feb. 12, 2013 and were intercepted by F-15 jets.
The latest bomber flights around the island, located 4,000 miles west of Hawaii, appeared timed to coincide with the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia and come amid new tensions with Russia over Ukraine.