UK

RAF fighter jets scrambled to investigate Russian planes

A QRA Typhoon F2 escorts a Russian Bear-H aircraft over the North Atlantic Ocean after a previous incursion in 2008 Image copyright RAF/MoD
Image caption A QRA Typhoon F2 escorts a Russian Bear-H aircraft over the North Atlantic Ocean after a previous incursion in 2008

Fighter jets were scrambled after two Russian military aircraft were spotted approaching UK airspace, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets took off from RAF Leuchars in Fife on Wednesday.

The jets were sent to investigate the Russian planes, which are understood to have turned away shortly afterwards.

RAF fighter planes were scrambled to incidents such as this eight times last year, an MOD spokesman said.

The spokesman said the jets were launched to "determine the identity of unknown aircraft" that approached the north of Scotland and "could not be identified by other means".

He said: "The aircraft were subsequently identified as Russian military aircraft. The Russian military aircraft remained in international airspace at all times as they are perfectly entitled to do so."

The spokesman added that Russian military flights have never entered UK sovereign airspace without authorisation.

Meanwhile a Royal Navy warship is shadowing a Russian destroyer as it sails past the UK.

HMS Dragon, one of the Navy's most modern warships, sailed from Portsmouth at the end of last week to waters north of Scotland to track the Russian warship, Vice Admiral Kulakov.

HMS Dragon monitored the movements of the Russian ship as she approached British waters in what has been described by a defence spokesman as a "well established and standard response".

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, said: "Recent events have increased awareness of Russian military activity, but we have always routinely intercepted, identified and escorted Russian air and naval assets that transit international airspace and waters within the UK's 'area of interest'.

"The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force will remain alert and ready to intercept any non-Nato forces in the area."

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