Canada intercepts two Russian bombers


From Rob Gillies, the AP:  Fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian bombers in the Arctic as they approached Canadian airspace on the eve of a visit from Canada’s prime minister who will observe an Arctic military exercise, a spokesman for the prime minister said Wednesday.

Dimitri Soudas, Stephen Harper’s director of communications, said two Canadian CF-18 jets shadowed a pair of Russian TU-95 Bear jets in international airspace on Tuesday.

Soudas said the bombers flew within 30 miles (50 kilometers) of Canadian soil. They were first spotted approximately 120 nautical miles north of Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

"Thanks to the rapid response of the Canadian Forces, at no time did the Russian aircraft enter sovereign Canadian airspace," Soudas said in an e-mail. …

Two Russian bombers were intercepted last month off Canada’s East Coast near the Arctic and in February 2009, fighter jets scrambled to intercept a Russian bomber in the Arctic as it approached Canadian airspace on the eve of President Barack Obama’s visit to Ottawa. The Russians said then the plane never encroached on Canadian airspace and that Canada had been told about the flight beforehand. Canada’s defense minister said Russia gives no warning prior to the flight, despite Canada’s request for Russia to do so.

Harper has made the Arctic a priority by making annual trips and pledging to increase Canada’s military presence.  (photo:

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