The US Air Force has intercepted advanced Russian fighter jets escorting Cold War-era bombers near Alaska for the first time.
Two Russian SU-35 fighter jets were seen by two F-22 stealth fighter jets escorting two Russian Bear bombers in Alaska’s Air Defence Zone about 50 miles southwest of Chariot, Alaska. The Russian formation stayed in international air space and were unarmed, officials told Fox News.
Russia has been sending aircraft into the area recently after a lengthy dry spell. Russian bombers were spotted in the area over four consecutive days last month, the first time since 2014.
Relations between the US and Russia have been strained recently. US President Donald Trump said last month that the relationship was at an “all-time low.” Even so, Mr Trump spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone Wednesday. A readout following the conversation described it as “a very good one.” The White House indicated the two had talked about the situations in Syria and North Korea. Russian provocation were not mentioned.
The White House announced in the readout that they will be sending a representative to Kazakhstan on May 3 and 4 to participate in cease-fire talks for Syria. Two two presidents discussed implementing safe zones in Syria for "humanitarian and other reasons." Russia and the US have been divided on several fronts including what approach is appropriate in Syria, Russia's annexation of Ukraine, and Moscow's interference in the 2016 election that saw Mr Trump ascend to the presidency.
That division has pushed Mr Trump to modify some of his most controversial positions. After a meeting between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Putin that failed to resolve differences on those issues, Mr Trump reversed course on his assessment of NATO and said that it was "no longer obsolete."