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    NATO fighters accompanied Russian Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers on a regular strategic patrol flight on Wednesday, a Russian Air Force spokesman said.

    MOSCOW, April 9 (RIA Novosti) - NATO fighters accompanied Russian Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers on a regular strategic patrol flight on Wednesday, a Russian Air Force spokesman said.

    Four Bear bombers and four Il-78 aerial tankers conducted a patrol mission over the Arctic and the Pacific Ocean and performed aerial refueling, which is the second exercise of Russian bombers near Alaska in three weeks.

    "During the flight over neutral waters near Alaska, the Russian planes were accompanied by NATO fighters," Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky said.

    Interceptions of Russian combat aircraft by NATO fighters have been a common occurrence since Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by President Vladimir Putin.

    Drobyshevsky reiterated that regular patrols of Russian strategic bombers do not pose a threat to other countries, and Russia always issues prior warnings of their patrols.

    He said that the main purpose of these missions was to train pilots in instrument flight and aerial refueling.

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