RUSSIAN nuclear bombers were intercepted twice over two days as they flew near to Alaska, the US military has revealed.
Footage released by the Kremlin shows two of its Tu-95 “Bear” bombers near to American airspace in a show of strength to the West.
5A picture of one of the TU-95 planes released by the Russian militaryCredit: Reuters5The Tu-95MS were said to be flying above “neutral waters” on a “planned” mission, according to MoscowCredit: Will Stewart5The view from the cockpit of one of the Russian bombers on their Valentines mission near AlaskaCredit: will stewartThe footage reportedly shows the noisy missile carriers flying over neutral waters in the Bering Sea accompanied by Russian fighter jets – very close to US airspace.
The Valentine’s Day mission was thought to be warning to the West amid Kremlin fury over supplies of weapons to Ukraine.
But it’s now emerged the video taken showed one of two missions flown by the Russians over 48 hours.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said it “detected, tracked, positively identified and intercepted four Russian aircraft approaching Alaska, Air Defense Identification Zone of Feb, 14.”
NORAD said this was the “second intercept of Russian aircraft over two days”.
The Russian aircraft included TU-95 Bear H, SU-30 fighter and SU-35 fighter aircraft, it added.
They were intercepted by two F-35A fighters supported by two F-16 figters, one E-3 Sentry (AWACS) and two KC-135 Stratotankers.
The day after the incident, Russia flew two supersonic “Blackjack” nuclear bombers close to the UK.
Two planes patrolled the Norwegian and Barents Sea in a 13-hour mission which included in-flight fuelling, the Russian defence ministry said.
The flights came after repeated threats made by Russian officials and propagandists on using nuclear weapons amid deepening East-West tensions surrounding the war in Ukraine.
However, even before Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, the country had been stepping up its patrols near US airspace – increasing them by sixfold in recent years.
In the released images, the Russian aeroplanes can be seen preparing for takeoff from an undisclosed location at night.
One of the planes can then be seen taking to the skies before the other can also be seen taking off.
The footage then shows the view from inside the cockpit of one of the aircraft. Other shots also show the other plane, both of them apparently flying high above the clouds.
After a flight that is said to have lasted over seven hours, the aircraft can be seen coming in to land.
The images were obtained from the Russian Ministry of Defence on Tuesday.
Their statement claimed: “Two Tu-95MS strategic missile carriers of the Russian Aerospace Forces completed a planned flight over the neutral waters of the Bering Sea.”
It continued: “Long-range aviation pilots regularly fly over the neutral waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Black and Baltic Seas.”
“All flights of aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces are carried out in strict accordance with the International Rules for the Use of Airspace,” added Moscow.
The claims and the footage of the Valentine’s mission has not been able to be independently verified.
The Tu-95s are the world’s only propeller-powered strategic bombers.
The same type of planes – which date from the Soviet era – were hit at a base in Engels, Saratov region by a Ukrainian drone strike hundreds of miles inside the Russian border on December 5.
Two servicemen sustained wounds from the attack, according to reports.
The Soviet-era Tu-95s first flew some 70 years ago but remain a key part of Putin’s strike threat.
On Monday, two Dutch F-35 fighters intercepted three Russian military aircraft approaching Polish NATO airspace and escorted them away.
The news comes amid fears Vladimir Putin is preparing for a massive new spring offensive in the coming weeks to coincide with the first anniversary of the war on February 24.
Ukrainian defenders are bracing for an assault that could include 1,800 tanks, 3,950 armoured vehicles, 400 fighter jets and 300 helicopters incoming from Russia.
However, NATO’s Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, has said that Russia has already launched its new offensive and was “sending more troops, more weapons, more capabilities”.
Ukraine has been monitoring the military build-up as they continue to plea for Western support – including during Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit last week to London.
As Russia ramps up its aggravations towards Western nations, Norway’s intelligence warns that the nation is on the path to becoming “more authoritarian and militarised” in the next few years.
“There is no turning back,” said Lars Nordrum, second in command of Norwegian intelligence.
“Russian interests will not be compatible with those of the West.”
5The mission allegedly lasted seven hours and began in the nightCredit: will stewart5The Tu-95s are famous aircrafts for being the world’s only propeller powered strategic bombersCredit: Will Stewart
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk