Earlier aircraft incursions near Alaska and Europe
Russian strategic bombers conducted a third circumnavigation of the U.S. Pacific island of Guam last week as other bombers flew close to Alaska and Europe, defense officials said.
Two Tu-95 Bear H bombers made the flight around Guam, a key U.S. military hub in the western Pacific, on Dec. 13. No U.S. interceptor jets were dispatched to shadow the bombers.
Separately, two Canadian F-18s intercepted two Bear bombers that intruded into the Alaska air defense identification zone on Dec. 8 that a military spokesman called “unwanted, provocative, and potentially destabilizing.”
Around the same time in Europe, NATO jets intercepted Russian Tu-95 and Tu-22 Backfire bombers also conducting provocative flights.
Russian warplanes, including four Bear Hs and two Tu-22M Backfire bombers were shadowed as they flew simulated bombing runs from bases in Russia to the Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad for four days beginning on Dec. 7.
Regarding the Guam air defense zone incursions, “U.S. Pacific Command can confirm that two aircraft entered Guam’s outer air defense identification zone on Dec. 13,” said Maj. Dave Washburn, a command spokesman.
It was the second time in a month that nuclear-capable Russian bombers buzzed the island in what U.S. officials have said is nuclear saber-rattling by Russia under its strongman Vladimir Putin.
Earlier Russian bomber flights around the 36-mile-long island took place in November and on Feb. 12, 2013. During the 2013 incursion, F-15 jets were scrambled to intercept the part of bombers.
Both earlier flights were timed to political events, including President Obama’s meeting with Putin in Australia and the president’s state of the union message in 2013.
In the Alaska incident, two bombers were flying northwest of Anchorage and into the Beaufort Sea off of the Canadian coast, said Navy Capt. Jeff A. Davis, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.
Davis said the Russian bombers entered both the Alaska air defense identification zone and the Canadian air defense identification zone, but did not enter sovereign U.S. or Canadian airspace.
“While we recognize the need for routine military training activity, we have noticed an increase in the number of these flights near North America in recent months since Russia’s incursion into Ukraine and Crimea,” Davis said.
Shirley A. Kan, a Congressional Research Service analyst, stated in a report made public Nov. 27 that Guam is a key element in the Obama administration’s shift to Asia.
“Guam is critical to enhancing the forward presence, strengthening alliances, and shaping China’s rise,” Kan stated.
Full article: Russian Nuclear Bombers Again Buzz Guam (Washington Free Beacon)