Typhoon jets were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth to intercept two Russian bombers close to UK airspace, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.
Aircraft from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire were also launched as a "precautionary measure" on Thursday but were not required to intercept the Russian jets.
It is understood the Russian Blackjack bombers did not enter UK airspace but flew from Norway and passed to the west of Shetland.
A Royal Air Force spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that quick reaction alert Typhoon aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth intercepted two Russian Blackjack bombers and escorted them while they were in the UK area of interest.
"At no point did the Russian aircraft enter UK territorial airspace."
A number of similar incidents have been recorded in the last year involving Russian military aircraft close to UK airspace.
Typhoons from RAF Coningsby conducted a similar operation in February, while in October and November 2015 fighter jets were scrambled from Lossiemouth to intercept Blackjack bombers flying over the North Sea.
In December last year British military officials held talks with their counterparts in Moscow over "incursions" of Russian aircraft around the UK.