RAF Typhoon fighters have been launched in response to aircraft 'approaching the UK area of interest' for the second day in a row, the RAF has confirmed.
Yesterday, February 2, the air force 'scrambled' fighter jets from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, Scotland, as well as a Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, against ‘unidentified aircraft’.
The RAF later confirmed the jets 'intercepted and escorted four Russian Bear aircraft', coming amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, with fears President Vladimir Putin may be preparing to order an invasion.
The RAF launched the same jets today. 'Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighters from RAF Lossiemouth, supported by a Voyager Tanker from RAF Brize Norton, have been launched against aircraft approaching the UK area of interest,' a spokesperson said today, February 3, per Sky News.
'We will not be offering any additional detail on this ongoing operation until complete.'
It's still unclear why Russian aircraft was anywhere near the UK's area of interest. 'The Russian aircraft types were two Tu-95 Bear H and two Tu-142 Bear F... at no time did the Russian bombers enter UK sovereign airspace,' the service also said.
While a sovereign airspace is the area directly above a country's territory, an 'area of interest' indicates some responsibility; for example, air traffic control services.
The RAF said it 'routinely' intercepts, identifies and escorts Russian aircraft that 'transit international airspace within the UK's area of interest' and 'works closely with NATO partners to monitor such aircraft'.
In addition to the Russian aircraft, the Royal Navy is also monitoring two Russian naval vessels as they transit through the English channel, and the French military handed the responsibility of monitoring two ships to UK and US forces.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Putin that invading Ukraine would be a 'tragic miscalculation', describing the presence of hundreds of thousands of troops on the nation's border as 'clear and present danger'.
'We have to face a grim reality, which is that as we stand here today, more than 100,000 Russian troops are gathering on your border in perhaps the biggest demonstration of hostility towards the Ukraine in our lifetimes,' he said.
'It goes without saying that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine would be a political disaster, a humanitarian disaster, in my view it would also be for Russia, for the world, a military disaster as well.'
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