15:17 GMT +320 January 2020
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    There is no need to raise the alarm over Russia's routine air patrol missions, military expert Alexander Zhilin told Radio Sputnik, commenting on the media fuss surrounding Russian flights near Alaska. For his part, Russian academic Stanislav Ivanov emphasized that the US military perceived the incident calmly.

    The Russian military continues to perform routine flights over international waters in the Pacific, Arctic, Atlantic, and the Black Sea. Early Thursday morning two Russian Tu-95 (Bear) bombers and two unarmed Su-35 fighter jets were intercepted by US warplanes off the west coast of Alaska.

    "Two Russian Bear bombers — escorted for the first time by a pair of Su-35 'Flanker' fighter jets — entered Alaska's Air Defense Zone on Wednesday night," Fox News reported citing US officials.

    The media outlet specified that the Russian aircraft were unarmed and remained in international space.

    However, it highlighted that "late last month, Russian bombers flew near Alaska over four consecutive days for the first time since 2014."

    Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Moscow-based military expert Alexander Zhilin underscored that there is no need to raise the alarm over the incident.

    "The truth of the matter is that everyone is still unaccustomed to our strategic bombers patrolling their territories in neutral waters. Therefore, the [US mainstream media] is making a fuss of this. In addition, they need to push ahead with the bogey that Russia is terrible and harboring all sorts of [sinister] plans," Zhilin explained.

    "This absurd propaganda has reached its climax," the military expert remarked, adding that Russia will continue to patrol the space, which it considers strategically important, without violating international norms.

    He called attention to the fact that the interaction of strategic aircraft in neutral waters is stipulated down to the last detail in international documents.

    "If strategic bombers of one state violate the border of the other country, that means a 99-percent [chance of] war," Zhilin emphasized, "However, even for such cases a special procedure is prescribed because the aircraft can merely lose control or communication."

    Commenting on the Russian patrol operation, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) spokesperson Capt. Ashleigh Peck admitted that it was conducted in a safe and professional manner.

    "We would categorize it [the Russian flight] as safe and professional," Peck told Sputnik, stressing that the flight was by no means "unprecedented."

    Previously, in April, the Pentagon detected a series of three bomber flights in and around Alaska.

    "There were a series of three bomber flights in and around Alaska over a period of four days. They were all conducted safely, professionally and with respect for US territorial airspace," North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters in late April.

    The calm reaction of the US military to Russia's patrol mission deserves special attention, according to Stanislav Ivanov, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS).

    "American pilots pointed out the high professionalism of our airmen, as well as their strict observance of international law. They have no complaints about the Russians over the recent case or those flights conducted over the region in April: American pilots respect our airmen, and our pilots respect their American counterparts. However, orders are orders and if a warplane is flying along the border, it is necessary to accompany it," Ivanov told Radio Sputnik.

    The Russian academic remarked that as a military professional, he regards the Russian Air Force patrol missions as ordinary.

    "This is routine work for our Air Force. As for raising American fighters into the air, this is a normal response to a flight on adjacent territory over neutral waters of any aircraft that could potentially threaten the country's security. Our military behaves in a similar way when foreign warplanes carry out flights along our borders," he elaborated.

    According to Ivanov, both Americans and Russian have begun to come to a common understanding of how the two great powers should really interact.

    On Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that Russian bombers and fighter jets spotted near Alaska on Thursday were carrying out a routine flight.

    "On May 4, 2017, Russian long-haul strategic Tu-95MS bombers and multirole Su-35S fighters performed a routine flight over neutral Pacific waters along the Aleutian Islands," the Defense Ministry said in an official statement.


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    US foreign policy, patrol missions, Su-35S, Tu-95MS strategic bomber, Russian Defense Ministry, Pentagon, United States, Russia, Alaska
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