The Royal Air Force sent jets to intercept two Russian military aircraft approaching UK airspace to the north of Scotland.
According to an RAF spokesperson:
“RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter aircraft were launched today from RAF Lossiemouth after unidentified aircraft were tracked flying towards UK airspace.”
“The planes were identified as Russian Bear aircraft which were escorted by the RAF Typhoon fighters until they were out of the UK area of interest.”
“At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace.”
This is not the first time this has happened in recent weeks. Last month, RAF jets were also scrambled from Lossiemouth to intercept Russian Bear aircraft as Britain conducted NATO training exercises in the north of Scotland.
Then, as now, the Russian planes ultimately turned back before they reached UK airspace.
The Russian Tupolev Tu-95, or Bear, first took to the skies in the 1950s and was initially designed to carry nuclear bombs over long distances. It has since been adapted for use as a reconnaissance aircraft, and has become a common sight for Europe’s air force personnel.
The latest incident comes after the Russian military stepped up activity in recent months with a greater number of naval drills and frequent NATO reports of incursions by Russian fighter jets and bombers.
But it’s not only aircraft that have been causing concern.
Last month Finland dropped 6 depth charges on an unidentified “underwater object”, while Swedish authorities launched a major search involving 200 service personnel using minesweepers, helicopters, and an anti-submarine ship after sightings of a suspected Russian submarine last year in what was sarcastically termed “the hunt for reds in October”.
Russian warships have also cruised through the English Channel…twice. On the last occasion in February Royal Navy ship, the HMS Argyll, intercepted the Russian Neustrashimy class frigate Yaroslav Mudryy — “Yaroslav the Wise” — which was on the last leg of a Mediterranean deployment before returning to its permanent base in the Baltic.
Analysts have linked the moves to the country’s growing isolation from the West with international sanctions against Russian businesses and prominent individuals over the country’s role in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine taking their toll on its economy.
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