Putin fury: Russian fighter jet intercepts US aircraft as Moscow eyes NATO drills

Russia: US 'will respond to any recklessness' says Blinken

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The MiG-31 fighter escorted the US Air Force RC-135 strategic reconnaissance aircraft over the Chukchi Sea, in the eastern border of Russia. The Chukchi Sea is a body of water between the Arctic Ocean and the Bering Strait which separates Alaska from Russia.

Russia’s National Defense Control Center said in a statement the jet was scrambled to “identify the air target and prevent violation of the border of the Russian Federation”.

A statement to the Russian new agency read: “The flight of the Russian fighter was carried out in strict accordance with international rules for the use of airspace.”

Over recent weeks, Moscow has intercepted a number of US aircraft.

Last month, Russia’s Defense Ministry released footage of a MiG-31 jet accompanying an RC-135 aircraft over the coast of Kamchatka in the far east of Russia.

Days earlier, a Russian MiG-31 fighter plane escorted the same kind of US reconnaissance aircraft over the Pacific Ocean.

Moscow has previously warned the increased reconnaissance activities near Russia posed a risk of rising tensions between the Kremlin and Washington amid concerns over a growing conflict in Ukraine.

Tensions between Moscow and Ukraine have escalated following a build-up of Russian troops along the border and clashes in eastern Ukraine between the army and pro-Russian separatists.

Earlier today, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for Russia to cease all “reckless and aggressive actions” towards Ukraine.

“We are aware that Russia has withdrawn some forces from the border… but we also see that significant forces remain there [and] significant equipment remains there,” Mr Blinken said.

According to reports, British warships will sail for the Black Sea last month in a bid to show solidarity with Ukraine and Britain’s NATO allies.

The Sunday Times reported one Type 45 destroyer armed with anti-aircraft missiles and an anti-submarine Type 23 frigate will leave the Royal Navy’s carrier task group.

RAF F-35B Lightning stealth jets and Merlin submarine-hunting helicopters will also stand ready on HMS Queen Elizabeth.

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A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “The UK and our international allies are unwavering in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Last month, US President Joe Biden reaffirmed Washington’s support for Kiev’s pro-Western government.

He urged Russia to “de-escalate tensions” but also offered to hold his first face-to-face talk with Mr Putin on “the full range of issues facing the US and Russia”.

Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Russian parliament’s upper house, said the conversation was a “very important step forward”.

This week, Vladimir Putin sparked concerns after it was revealed his state will be carrying out three tests of the deadly hypersonic “Satan-2” intercontinental ballistic missiles this year.

The nuclear weapon is set to go into service next year and is the biggest weapon in Mr Putin’s modernised arsenal.

A defence source told the Russian state news agency, TASS: “Three launches of the Sarmat ICBM will be carried out as part of flight development tests in 2021.”

According to reports, the weapons will be launched from an underground silo at Plesetek space centre in northwestern Russia.

It will hit targets in Kamchatka on the country’s Pacific coast and one test is likely to be at a range of 11,200 miles.

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