Russian military aircraft flew into an area that’s monitored by U.S. military officials in Alaska at least three times in recent days, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) confirmed this week.
NORAD’s Alaska division detected, tracked, and identified Russian surveillance aircraft entering and operating within the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone, according to a Twitter statement from the military agency. It occurred on three separate occasions in the past week, said NORAD on Thursday.
“The Russian aircraft did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace,” NORAD officials said in a Twitter post.
On two separate occasions, over the past 2 days, the Alaskan NORAD Region detected, tracked and identified Russian surveillance aircraft entering and operating within the Alaskan ADIZ. The Russian aircraft did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace. #WeHaveTheWatch
— North American Aerospace Defense Command (@NORADCommand) August 10, 2022
Russian surveillance planes entering ADIZ “is not seen as a threat nor is the activity seen as provocative” by the U.S. military, NORAD said. “NORAD monitors the movements of foreign military aircraft in the ADIZ and, as required, escorts them from the ADIZ.”
The officials said NORAD uses a “layered defense network of satellites, ground-based radars, airborne radar, and fighter aircraft” to identify and track aircraft that enter certain military zones.
“We remain ready to employ a number of response options in defense of North America [and] Arctic sovereignty,” Thursday’s statement continued.
The military did not identify the types of Russian planes that entered the Alaskan air zone.
The three Russian flights come as the Kremlin has entered its sixth month of fighting in Ukraine. The conflict is primarily centered in the eastern portion of the country.
Reports say Russian forces are attempting to take over the entirety of the Donetsk region in the Donbass area, coming after Moscow took much of Lunhansk in July.
Ukraine and Russia accused each other on Friday of risking nuclear disaster by shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, occupied by Russian forces in a region expected to become one of the next big front lines of the war.
Western countries have called for Moscow to withdraw its troops from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and the United Nations called on Thursday for it to be declared a demilitarised zone.
The plant dominates the south bank of a vast reservoir on the Dnipro river that cuts across southern Ukraine. Ukrainian forces controlling the towns and cities on the opposite bank have come under intense bombardment from the Russian-held side.
Kyiv has said for weeks it is planning a counteroffensive to recapture Zaporizhzhia and neighboring Kherson provinces, the largest part of the territory Russia took after its Feb. 24 invasion still in Russian hands. Moscow has installed regional officials who say they intend to stage votes to join Russia.
Reuters contributed to this report.