The Royal Air Force had to scramble Typhoon fighter jets in response to nearby Russian nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers on Thursday.
The bombers came from the North East past Ireland, ITV News reports. A UK Ministry of Defence spokesperson told ITV “at no point did the Russian aircraft enter UK territorial airspace.”
However, some of the Tu-160 bombers carry long-range nuclear capable cruise missiles which can pose a threat to the UK even outside of its own airspace. It is not clear right now which Tu-160 variants were intercepted.
Russia has recently been holding snap air force exercises, with a directive from Russian President Vladimir Putin himself apparently instructing the force to prepare for a “time of war.”
Russian planes frequently skirt or breach NATO and US allies’ air spaces. When detected, the standard operating procedure for most countries dictates scrambling jets to intercept the intruders.