Norwegian F-16 fighter jets shadow the Russian planes which flew near the Nordic state's restricted airspace. Photo: Tor Erik Schrøder / NTB scanpix
Norway's air force was on high alert on Wednesday after eight Russian military airplanes were spotted over the sea, near to Norwegian restricted airspace.
Two Norwegian F-16 fighter jets were on patrol keeping an eye on the Russian aircraft flying over the Norwegian and North seas, close to Norwegian air territories.
Russia was flying four Tupolev-95 "Bear" bomber planes and four fuel tanker planes. They flew from Kola in northernmost Russia, over the Norwegian Sea in international airspace, Nato said.
Six of the airplanes turned around after their cruise, while two of the bomber planes continued southbound over the North Sea, parallel with the Norwegian border. British and Portuguese fighter jets took over the observation job from the Norwegians.
Communications officer Brynjar Stordal for the Norwegian Joint Headquarters (FOH) said to TV2: “We have identified long range Bear bomber planes continuing to the west of southern Europe. The bomber planes were supported by fuel tanker planes.”
On their return, the Russians flew west of the UK.
No Nato members were informed in advance of the Russian exercise, and the airplanes didn't send positioning signals nor had radio contact with civilian air traffic control.
There has also been extensive Russian activity over the Baltic Sea during the last few days. Latvia's defence department reported twelve Russian airplanes in all flying overhead, among them the advanced MiG-31 fighter jets.
Turkish air defences sighted another four Russian airplanes over the Black Sea, and the Russian craft were spotted by Nato radars.