RAF Jets Scrambled to Intercept Russian Bombers Off Dorset Coast

By Gerald Lynch on at

There was very nearly an international diplomatic situation above the British southern coastline yesterday, as two Russian Bear long-range bombers were spotted flying near to British airspace over Dorset.

Two Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled from Royal Air Force bases at Lossiemouth in Scotland and Coningsby in eastern England in response.

"The Russian planes were escorted by the RAF until they were out of the UK area of interest. At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace," the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

Intercept missions relating to Russian aircraft have become three times more regular than usual since relations were strained due to Russia's involvement in the Ukraine. NATO states that 100 intercepts were conducted in 2013. Yesterday's incident is thought to have possibly been in response to the opening of the inquiry into the death of ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London nine years ago, poisoned by radioactive polonium.

Image Credit: Tupolev Tu-95 Bear from Shutterstock