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Six RAF jets intercept Russian aircraft heading for Scottish coast

RAF and Russian aircraftImage copyright © UK Crown copyright 2020
Image caption An RAF Typhoon closes in on the Russian aircraft

Six RAF fighter jets were scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft as they approached British airspace, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The Russian bombers were tracked heading towards the north-west coast of Scotland on Saturday.

It prompted the air force to deploy three pairs of Typhoons from its Quick Reaction Alert programme.

Two pairs left from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, while the third flew from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.

Flying in formation, two pairs approached the aircraft before withdrawing, while the third pair forced them to change course.

Russian aircraftImage copyright © UK Crown copyright 2020
Image caption The Russian aircraft were tracked heading towards the north-west coast of Scotland

The Russian aircraft were later identified as Tupolev Tu Bears, which are used both as strategic bombers and long-range maritime patrol planes.

The total number of Russian aircraft involved in the incident has not been revealed.

“This was a routine response to Russian aircraft approaching UK air space and was coordinated with several other Nato allies,” and RAF spokesman said.

Russian aircraftImage copyright © UK Crown copyright 2020
Image caption It is not known how many Russian aircraft were involved

RAF Lossiemouth tweeted: “At no point did these aircraft enter UK sovereign airspace.

“The Russian aircraft were shadowed by our Typhoons, along with (Quick Reaction Alert) aircraft from our NATO partners in Norway and France.”

It added: “We are ready to respond to any unidentified aircraft and potential airborne threats, 24/7/365.”

Last month, RAF jets were scrambled from Lossiemouth after reports of unidentified aircraft flying towards UK airspace.

The aircraft, thought to have been Russian bombers, were spotted off Shetland.

The bombers were not intercepted as they remained outside of the area considered UK airspace.

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-51789577

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