Four European countries were forced to scramble fighter jets after two Russian Blackjack bombers blasted across the continent, it has been revealed.
The UK, Norway, France and Spain all intercepted the Tu-160 planes as they made a daring flight from Norway to northern Spain and back.
During the flight, the bombers swooped across the top of Scotland, before skirting the west coast of Ireland, completing their route near northern Spain.
Spanish media has reported it is the furthest south such an operation has had to take place – while the frequency of Russian bombers being intercepted by NATO aircraft has significantly increased.
Although the incident occurred on September 22, the full details only emerged following an statement from the French Ministry of Defense.
According to the statement, the two bombers were first detected by Norway, which scrambled two F-16 jets to accompany them to the north of Scotland – where they were then intercepted by RAF Typhoon aircraft.
French Rafale fighter planes then picked up the bombers after they skirted Ireland’s west coast, before Spain sent two F-18 jets to intercept the Russian planes north of Bilbao.
The RAF has confirmed that the Russian jets did not enter UK airspace at any point.
However, for the UK, the incident was the latest of several involving Russian military aircraft.
Relations between Russia and West have declined since 2014, when Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.
Recently, they worsened even further as the United States ended military co-operation with Russia over Syria.