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Russia scrambles fighter jet as US bombers flew towards border

Russia scrambled a Su-35 fighter jet over the Baltic Sea after two US strategic bombers flew in the direction of the Russian border, Moscow said.
The incident on Monday followed the downing of a US military drone last Tuesday after it was intercepted by Russian warplanes. It was the first known direct military encounter between Russia and the US since Russia invaded Ukraine last year.
Russia’s defence ministry said the fighter jet involved in Monday’s intercept returned to base after the US bombers turned away, the Reuters news agency reports.
A Russian air force Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jet. (Photo: Russian air force) (Wikipedia)
“On March 20, radar facilities of the air defence forces of the Western military district on duty over the Baltic Sea detected two air targets flying in the direction of the Russian Federation’s state border,” the ministry said on the Telegram messaging app.
It said the targets were US Air Force B52H strategic bombers.
Russian officials said a Su-35 fighter was scrambled to prevent a border violation, and added, “after the foreign military aircraft moved away from the Russian Federation state border, the Russian fighter returned to its base airfield.”
The Russian defence ministry said the Su-35’s flight was in strict accordance with international regulations about airspace.
“No violation of the state border of the Russian Federation was permitted,” it said.
In this handout photo released by Russian Presidential Press Office, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands prior to their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 20, 2023. (Russian Presidential Press Office via AP) (AP)
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has welcomed Chinese leader Xi Jinping to the Kremlin in a visit that sent a powerful message to Western leaders allied with Ukraine that their efforts to isolate Moscow have fallen short.
Xi’s trip — his first abroad since his re-election earlier this month — showed off Beijing’s new diplomatic swagger and gave a political lift to Putin just days after an international arrest warrant was issued for the Kremlin leader on war crimes charges related to Ukraine.
The two major powers have described Xi’s three-day trip as an opportunity to deepen their “no-limits friendship”. China looks to Russia as a source of oil and gas for its energy-hungry economy, and as a partner in standing up to what both see as US domination of global affairs.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that over dinner on Monday, Putin and Xi would touch on issues related to Ukraine, adding that Russia’s president will likely offer a “detailed explanation” of Moscow’s view on the current situation.
Broader talks involving officials from both countries on a range of subjects are scheduled for Tuesday, according to Peskov.
Objects of war become new normal in Kyiv
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Last modified: October 23, 2022