US defense officials are calling recent sightings of Russian bombers off the Alaskan coast “nothing out of the ordinary” — itself an indication that both nations are toeing the line between routine military posturing and escalating provocation. On Monday, US F-22 fighter jets intercepted two Russian bombers in international airspace 100 miles from Kodiak Island, Alaska. A US military official called the interaction “safe and professional.” Less than 24 hours later, a US

surveillance aircraft responded to two Russian bombers that were spotted in the same area, this time flying 41 miles off Alaska. The Russian aircraft did not enter US airspace in either instance and US defense officials say there was nothing unusual or confrontational about the Russians’ conduct. The US itself has carried out similar flights along both the Chinese and Russian coasts. Moscow, for its part, said it “regularly carries out patrol missions above the neutral waters of the Arctic, the Atlantic, the Black Sea and the Pacific Ocean.” READ MORE