The RAF scrambled Typhoon jets to intercept Russian military jets approaching British airspace last night.
Planes were sent from the air base at Lossiemouth, north east Scotland, after two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bomber planes were sighted flying over the Atlantic towards the UK.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said the Russian aircraft were escorted until they were clear of the UK area of interest. At no time did they cross into UK sovereign airspace, he added.
It is the latest in a number of incidents in recent months in which Moscow has sent planes skirting the edge of British airspace in a legal but provocative move amid worsening international relations.