Canadian jets intercept Russian bombers, first time in two years Norad

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OTTAWA — North America”s early-warning air defences have intercepted a pair of Russian bombers off the country”s northern coast, the first such encounter in more than two years.

CF-18 fighter jets were scrambled alongside U.S. F-22s around 7 p.m. ET on Thursday after radar spotted two TU-95 Bear bombers flying less than 320 kilometres from North American airspace.

Norad spokeswoman Jennifer Stadnyk says the bombers did not violate Canadian or American airspace at any time.

The last time Canadian jets intercepted Russian military aircraft flying in the Arctic was in December 2014.

Stadnyk says the incident marks the fourth time in the past week that Russian aircraft have been observed flying near North American airspace, the most since 2015.

The spike in Russian military activity comes amid renewed tensions between Moscow and the West, particularly over Russia”s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.