The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracked four Russian military aircraft in international airspace off Alaska on Tuesday.
The warplanes flew in the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), a 150-mile zone off the U.S. coast tracked to provide extra time for reactions in case of hostile activities.
The aircraft “remained in international airspace and did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace,” according to a NORAD statement.
“This Russian activity in the Alaska ADIZ occurs regularly and is not seen as a threat,” the statement said.
NORAD tracks aircraft with airborne and ground-based radars, fighter jets and satellites. It “remains ready to employ a number of response options in defense of North America,” the agency said.
Russia confirmed the deployment of two of its Tu-95 bombers Wednesday, according to Reuters. They flew for around nine hours.
“The flight was carried out in strict accordance with international rules for the use of airspace,” said Lt. Gen. Sergei Kobylash, Russia’s long-range aviation commander, Reuters reported.
“Long-range aviation pilots regularly fly over the neutral waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, Black and Baltic Seas, and the Pacific Ocean,” Kobylash added, according to ABC News.
In August, the Navy sent four U.S. destroyers alongside P-8 Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft to monitor 11 Chinese and Russian ships patrolling near Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. The ships later quietly left the area. In mid-May, U.S. fighter jets intercepted six Russian aircraft near Alaskan airspace.
Russia President Vladimir Putin brought back the practice in 2007 of having strategic bombers regularly patrolling beyond the country’s borders.