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National News supplied bySky News

Russian Bombers Intercepted Off US Coast

Two Russian Tu-95 "Bear" bombers were intercepted off Alaska at around 10.30am Eastern Time on Independence Day by two F-22 Raptor jets.

Just half an hour later another pair of Tu-95s were detected off the central coast of California and two F-15 Eagles were scrambled to intercept.

A spokeswoman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) did not confirm if either of the long-range bombers was armed, Fox News reported.

None of the Russian aircraft entered US airspace, which is 12 nautical miles off the coast, but defence officials have not revealed how close they were to US soil.

Michael Kucharek, a spokesman for NORAD, told Fox News: "These are not unprecedented flights, but we are postured to respond whether Alaska or California.

"At no time did the bombers enter North American sovereign airspace."

Russian bombers also flew close to US coastlines on 4 July 2013.

Last year, two more long-range bombers flew within 50 miles of California.

There have been at least 50 reported incidents of Russian aircraft being intercepted by US Air Force jets since 2006, the Washington Times reported.

The incident occurred on the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a congratulatory message to US President Barack Obama to mark Independence Day.

In 2014, Russian defence officials announced long-range bombers would expand their regular patrols to the Arctic, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

© Sky News, 2015