In just the latest incident involving US bombers flying close to Russian airspace, a slew of Russian fighters were sent to meet three B-52 strategic bombers over the Black Sea on Friday.
"In order to prevent the US Air Force planes from violating Russian airspace, 4 Su-27 fighters and 4 Su-30 fighters from the air defense forces of the Southern Military District were raised over the Black and Azov Seas," the National Defense Management Center of the Russian Federation said.
The agency did not say if the bombers actually violated Russian airspace.
On August 28, a similar incident occurred as two Su-27 (NATO reporting name "Flanker") fighters were dispatched to deter several B-52 bombers over the Black Sea. The following day, a similar incident happened over the Baltic Sea, again involving B-52 bombers, which are slow, long-range aircraft capable of dropping huge amounts of munitions over targets and can carry several nuclear bombs.
The August 28 intercept was part of an unprecedented show of force by the United States, which dispatched six B-52 bombers to fly over all 30 NATO partner nations in a single day.
The Friday intercept also comes as the US Army begins exercises in Estonia that will feature live-fire rocket artillery drills less than 70 miles from the Russian border.