U.S. stealth fighters intercepted two Russian bombers Thursday night in international airspace near the Alaska coast, in the fourth encounter in as many days.
According to CNN, which cites a spokesperson for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, two IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft were spotted Wednesday night, while two Tu-95 Bear bombers were seen Thursday entering Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone 700.
On Monday, the U.S. intercepted Russian bombers 100 miles from Kodiak Island, Alaska. The next day, two Russian bombers were seen only 41 miles from Alaska, though still in international airspace.
An unnamed defense official told CNN that the flights pose no military threat, but there's "no other way to interpret this other than as strategic messaging."
NORAD spokesman John Cornelio told the news network that although they "haven't seen this sort of level of activity for a couple of years," it is neither "unprecedented" nor "unusual."
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., told CNN's Wolf Blitzer earlier this week that the Russians are "trying to show their teeth," by flying near the U.S..
"This was a show of force by the Russians to show us that they are still here," he added, calling it "an attempt to come up as close as they could to our international borders to see what our reaction would be."
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