Norway scrambles warplanes to escort Russian bombers

"It's nothing dramatic; it happens almost every week," a Norwegian official said.

By Reuters - July 22, 2021
A Russian Tu-160 strategic bomber and MiG-31 fighter jets perform a flight over the neutral waters of the Barents and Norwegian seas, in this still image taken from video released July 21, 2021. (Russian Defense Ministry / Handout via Reuters)

MOSCOW — Norway scrambled warplanes on Wednesday to escort Russian strategic bombers over the Barents and Norwegian seas, the Russian Defence Ministry said, according to the TASS new agency.

The Russian aircraft had performed a seven-hour flight over neutral waters, the ministry said.

“Norwegian Air Force F-16 fighter jets escorted Russian strategic missile carriers through parts of their route,” it said.

The maneuver is standard procedure when Russian planes are in international airspace close to the Norwegian borders, Major Elisabeth Eikeland of the Norwegian Joint Headquarters told Reuters. Russia does the same if the situation is reversed.

“It’s nothing dramatic; it happens almost every week,” she added.

After they identified the airplanes on Wednesday morning, the Norwegian airplanes returned to their base in Bodø, northern Norway, Eikeland said.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Nora Buli in Oslo; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov.