|June 26, 2012
Russian strategic nuclear bombers threatened U.S. airspace near Alaska earlier this month and F-15 jets responded by intercepting the aircraft taking part in large-scale arctic war games, according to defense officials.
The Russian war games began the same day President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a frosty summit meeting in Mexico June 18.
U.S. officials said the arctic exercises over the Russian Far East and Pacific appeared to be a further sign of Russia’s hardening posture toward the United States.
The Obama administration made no protest of the bomber intrusions, according to the officials, in line with its conciliatory “reset” policy of seeking warmer ties with Moscow.
About 30 strategic nuclear bombers and support aircraft took part in the war games that continued through June 25. The aircraft included Tu-95MS Bear H and Tu-160 Blackjack nuclear-capable bombers, along with Il-76 refueling tankers, A-50 airborne warning and control aircraft, and Su-27 and MiG-31 jet fighters. Some 200 troops also took part in the Russian Strategic Aviation forces exercise.