US fighter jets intercept Russian nuclear bombers near Alaska: report

US fighter jets intercept Russian nuclear bombers near Alaska: report
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American fighter jets reportedly intercepted two Russian nuclear-capable bombers near Alaska on Saturday, North American Aerospace Defense Command told The Washington Free Beacon.

Two American F-22 jets intercepted two Tu-95 'Bear' long-range bomber aircrafts in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone, south of the Aleutian Islands, Michael Kucharek, a spokesman for the Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), told the Free Beacon on Thursday.

Kucharek did not say how close the bombers came to Alaska to shield "operational security," the outlet reported. 

"However the two Russian Tu-95 bomber aircraft were intercepted and monitored by the F-22s until the bombers left the ADIZ along the Aleutian Island chain heading west," Kucharek added to the Free Beacon.

The official said that the Russian bombers never entered Canadian or U.S. airspace.

The Free Beacon reports that a defense official said that at least one Il-78 Midas refueling tanker jet supported the bombers, suggesting that the aircraft flew long enough to necessitate midflight refueling, according to the paper. 

Defense officials also noted that the interception coincided with Vostok-18, large-scale exercises in Russia that began late last month.

U.S. intelligence watching the exercises, out of concern for the possibility that Russia could be masking actual military movements. 

An unnamed official speculated to the paper that the Russian bombers may have been practicing cruise missile strikes on U.S. missile defenses in Alaska. 

Russian bombers were also sighted near Alaska in May, the Free Beacon reported at the time.