US fighter jets intercepted four Russian military aircraft near Alaska, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) announced Tuesday.

The “routine” interception of the Russian aircraft, Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bombers and escorting Sukhoi Su-35 fighters, took place on Monday, NORAD explained in a statement Tuesday.

Such operations are ordered when potentially hostile aircraft are judged to be coming too close or likely to violate its airspace of responsibility.

However, “the Russian aircraft remained in the international airspace”, “they did not violate the American or Canadian airspace”, he clarified, adding that Russian flights of this type “take place frequently”, “they are not considered a threat, nor a provocative action”.

If Monday’s interception was routine, fighter pilots based in North America were ordered to carry out extremely rare operations this month: shooting down a Chinese balloon that Washington called a spy balloon — Beijing reacted angrily, calling it a weather balloon — and three others of unknown identity. flying “objects”.