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Russian planes detected off Alaska 4 times this week

22 April 2017

But Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the Russians were "trying to show their teeth" by flying so close to the USA coastline amid tensions between the two nations.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., told CNN's Wolf Blitzer earlier this week that the Russians are "trying to show their teeth", by flying near the U.S.

As of now, these aircraft are considered to pose no actual military threat, for the flights stayed within worldwide airspace at all times, but - symbolically - did cross into the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) that the US military maintains within a 200 nautical-mile range from the USA coast.

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The Russian aircraft was in global air space at the time, abiding by worldwide law, she said.

On Monday, the USA intercepted Russian bombers 100 miles from Kodiak Island, Alaska.

The Russian Ministry of Defense was not immediately available to comment on the reported flights near Alaska.

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Though the Bear Bombers were running about parallel to the Aleutians and not near Kodiak, detection of the unidentified aircraft prompted the launching of two F-22 captor fighter jets, along with an E-3 Sentry and one KC-135 tanker, the last a refueler from the Alaska Air National Guard out of Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks, she said.

American fighter jets have been scrambled to intercept Russian bombers off the coast of Alaska in the first such confrontation since Donald Trump took office. While Tuesday's flight marks only the second time Russian bombers have been off the Alaskan coast since 2015, they have flown in the area about 60 times since 2007.

The incident Wednesday involved two IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft. The Kremlin and Tillerson both said that relations had eroded to the lowest point under Trump's presidency after the secretary's visit.

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But one U.S. defence expert says the missions are part of Russian President Vladimir Putin trying "to prove Russia is back in the game". There is "no other way to interpret this other than as strategic messaging", an official told CNN. Indeed that's the only conclusion that can be drawn while recalling that the most recent time this happened was in 2015 when Russian bombers flirted 40 miles off the Californian coast.

Russian planes detected off Alaska 4 times this week