Two F-22 stealth fighter jets intercepted a pair of Russian bombers late Monday near Alaska just weeks after another incident required jets to be scrambled.
The Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bombers flew 35 miles off the coast of Alaska, but remained in international airspace, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known by its acronym, NORAD, said in a statement.
Last month, a pair of Russian supersonic bombers buzzed the coast of Alaska, which were also intercepted by U.S. Air Force F-22 fighter jets.
In both incidents-- last month and last night-- the Russian aircraft never entered U.S. airspace. The U.S. military routinely flies bombers and reconnaissance aircraft near Russia as well.
The latest Russian flight comes as the Trump administration negotiates a potential extension of a nuclear arms control treaty with Moscow called new START, which limits the number of nuclear warheads each side can deploy.
Late last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hoped to extend the treaty for a year without conditions. His proposal was rejected by President Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, who wants to put a cap on stockpiled and tactical nuclear warheads.
U.S. and Russian forces are bound by the 2010 treaty to cap deployed nuclear warheads at 1,550. There are also limits in the treaty to the number of deployed long-range missiles, submarines and bombers which can carry them.