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Russian aircraft stayed in 'international airspace'

The Russian aircraft that were 'intercepted' by RAF Typhoon jets earlier today remained in international airspace, the Ministry of Defence has said.

"The aircraft were subsequently identified as Russian military aircraft. The Russian military aircraft remained in international airspace at all times as they are perfectly entitled to do so." A spokesman for the MoD said.

"Russian military flights have never entered UK sovereign airspace without authorisation."

More: Russian surveillance planes 'deterred' by RAF jets

Russian surveillance planes 'deterred' by RAF jets

A Russian Tupolev Bear aircraft, photographed by the RAF on a previous sortie. Credit: MoD

The RAF jets were scrambled when a request came from UK aviation authorities who had tried to make contact with the Russian 'Bear' aircraft. The jets acted as a "visual deterrent" and flew parallel to them and the Russian Bears flew off

The two Russian aircraft were of a surveillance type and sorties like this are often flown to 'test' response times.

In 2013 - there were 8 recorded incidents of this kind.

More: RAF scramble aircraft as Russians approach UK airspace

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RAF scrambles aircraft over Russian jets 'threat'

by - Deputy Political Editor
A Typhoon jet takes off from RAF Northolt in west London in 2012. Credit: Reuters

The Ministry of Defence says Typhoon jets were scrambled when Russian aircraft came close to UK airspace have now returned to their base.

The RAF jets were put on alert earlier today.

It's not an entirely unusual occurrence however. British jets have been scrambled in a similar way around eight times in the last year.

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