The United States intercepted six Russian military planes off the coast of Alaska late Monday.
Two U.S. F-22 fighter jets first made contact with a pair of Tu-95 bombers, Russian aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons, and later two other F-22s intercepted a second group of Tu-95s and Su-35 fighter jets, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said Tuesday.
The Russian bombers had entered Alaska’s Air Defense Identification Zone which extends approximately 200 miles off Alaska’s western coast, according to CNN.
The Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed the incident, saying their aircraft were “escorted” by the F-22 jets. The total flight time for the Russian aircraft was 12 hours, according to the ministry.
The Russian planes remained in international airspace for the duration of their flights.
“Our ability to deter and defeat threats to our citizens and vital infrastructure starts with detecting, tracking and positively identifying aircraft in our airspace. We are on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” NORAD Commander Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy said on the command’s Twitter account.