MOSCOW, March 29. /TASS/. Two Tu-160 strategic bombers (NATO reporting name: Blackjack) of the Russian Aerospace Forces have performed a flight above the Barents, Norwegian and North seas, the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service said on Friday.
"Two Tu-160 strategic bombers have performed a planned flight above the neutral waters of the Barents, Norwegian and North seas," the ministry said, adding that the planes were accompanied by MiG-31 supersonic interceptor aircraft.
"At certain stretches of the route, the Russian planes were accompanied by F-16 fighter jets of the Danish Air Force and Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force," the ministry said.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the flight lasted more than 134 hours, so the planes were refueled.
The ministry reiterated that Russian Long-Range Aviation pilots regularly perform patrol missions above the neutral waters of the Arctic and the North Atlantic regions, the Black and Caspian seas and the Pacific Ocean. Those flights are carried out in strict accordance with international rules on the use of airspace.
Meanwhile, the UK Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the Royal Air Force (RAF) Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon fighter aircraft scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth base, and a Voyager air-to-air refueling tanker - from Brize Norton base, "to monitor two Russian Blackjacks approaching UK airspace."
"The RAF worked closely with NATO partners to monitor the Russian aircraft as they passed through a variety of international airspace before they were intercepted over the North Sea," the statement reads. "Our fighters escorted them from the UK’s area of interest and ensured that they did not enter UK sovereign airspace."
"Our brave RAF pilots have shown again that we are ready to respond to any threat to the UK. Alongside our NATO allies, we must remain vigilant and aware of Russian military activity," the statement quoted Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson as saying.