RAF jets scrambled after Russian bombers spotted off coast of Cornwall

Russian jets escorted by RAF until they were out of UK 'area of interest'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

RAF jets were scrambled to escort Russian bombers spotted off the coast of Cornwall, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed.

The two Russian bear bombers were flying in international airspace close to the UK on Wednesday afternoon, an MoD spokesman said.

Typhoon jets from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire escorted the Russian aircraft out of the UK "area of interest". They did not cross into British sovereign airspace and their presence did not disrupt civil aircraft, according to initial reports.

"RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter aircraft were launched yesterday after Russian aircraft were identified flying close to UK airspace," an MoD spokesman said.

"The Russian planes were escorted by the RAF until they were out of the UK area of interest. At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace."

The incident comes just weeks after the UK summoned the Russian ambassador to the Foreign Office when two Russian bombers flew over the English Channel, disrupting civil aviation.

Russian bombers were intercepted by RAF jets twice in three days in November.

Earlier, the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon warned the Russian President Vladimir Putin was "testing Nato all last year" and mentioned the incident over the Channel.

“He flew two Russian bombers down the English Channel two weeks ago. We had to scramble jets very quickly to see them off. It’s the first time since the height of the Cold War, it’s the first time that’s happened.

"That just shows you, you need to respond, each time he [Mr Putin] does something like that, you need to be ready to respond," Mr Fallon claimed.

He said Mr Putin poses a “real and present danger” and could try to inflame tensions in former Soviet states in the Baltic such as Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Additional reporting by PA

Video courtesy of TV Zvedza