TORONTO – Fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian bombers in the Arctic as they approached Canadian airspace on the eve of a visit from Canada's prime minister who will observe an Arctic military exercise, a spokesman for the prime minister said Wednesday.
Dimitri Soudas, Stephen Harper's director of communications, said two Canadian CF-18 jets shadowed a pair of Russian TU-95 Bear jets in international airspace on Tuesday.
Soudas said the bombers flew within 30 miles (50 kilometers) of Canadian soil. They were first spotted approximately 120 nautical miles north of Inuvik, Northwest Territories.
"Thanks to the rapid response of the Canadian Forces, at no time did the Russian aircraft enter sovereign Canadian airspace," Soudas said in an e-mail.
Soudas warned that the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint US and Canadian agency, "carefully monitors all air activities in the North and considers all options to protect the air sovereignty of Canada and the United States."