A pair of Russian nuclear-capable bombers flew near Alaska Monday night, two U.S. officials told Fox News, coming as close as 100 miles from Kodiak Island -- the first time since President Trump took office that Moscow has sent bombers so close to the U.S.
The two Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bombers flew roughly 280 miles southwest of Elmendorf Air Force Base, within the Air Defense Identification Zone of the United States.
The U.S. Air Force scrambled two F-22 stealth fighter jets and an E-3 airborne early warning plane to intercept the Russian bombers.
The American jets flew alongside the Russian bombers for 12 minutes, before the Russian bombers reversed course and headed back to their base in eastern Russia.
Last week in Moscow, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said U.S.-Russian relations were at a “low point” while sitting next to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
While Tillerson was in Moscow, three Russian bombers flew near the east coast of Japan, forcing the Japanese military to scramble 14 fighter jets at various times to intercept the bombers. A Russian spy plane also flew along Japan’s west coast.
The last time Russian bombers flew near the U.S. was July 4, 2015, when a pair of Russian bombers flew off the coasts of Alaska and California, coming as close as 40 miles to Mendocino, Calif.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called then-President Barack Obama to wish him a happy Independence Day while the bombers cruised the California coastline.