Britain summons ambassador for explanation after Russian bombers approach UK airspace

Britain has summoned Russia's ambassador and asked him to explain why Russian warplanes flew near British airspace, disrupting civil aviation.

The Foreign Office said Thursday that Royal Air Force Typhoon jets were scrambled to escort Russian bombers in a "U.K. area of interest" on Wednesday. The Russian planes did not enter British airspace.

It called the maneuvers "part of an increasing pattern of out-of-area operations by Russian aircraft" and said the ambassador had been summoned to account for the incident.

Tensions between Russia and NATO nations have been high amid fighting between Ukrainian government troops and Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.

NATO said its pilots conducted more than three times as many intercepts of Russian planes in 2014 as the year before.