Source AP ©

Russian bombers noticed by Norwegian fighters

Russian bombers were flying in international airspace off the Nordic country's coast, the military said, and Norwegian F-16 fighters scrambled twice in Thursday to check them.

Kjetil Eide, a spokesman for the Norwegian Joint Command, said the Russian aircraft stayed well off the coast and did not near Norwegian territory. He said it was difficult to determine from radar images, but there were probably two Russian bombers of an undetermined type.

In recent months, Russia has stepped up air exercises from its Arctic bases near its neighbor Norway, a member of the NATO alliance.

Eide said two Norwegian F-16s scrambled in the early morning hours, but the Russian bombers were so far off the coast that they did not make contact. A second flight of two Norwegian fighters took off later in the morning to observe the Russian aircraft, he said.

Interception of Russian warplanes in NATO patrolled-airspace has become increasingly common since the Kremlin last month ordered strategic bombers to carry out long-range missions for the first time since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.

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