A pair of Russian Tu-95 Bear nuclear-capable bombers flew around Japan on Tuesday, prompting the Japanese military to scramble fighter jets as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) increased its threat posture, two U.S. defense officials revealed to Fox News. The Russian bombers stayed in international airspace, the officials said. News of

this latest Russian provocation came shortly after the Pentagon announced that new Defense Secretary James Mattis would make his first visit overseas to Japan and South Korea early next month. A third Russian Tu-95 bomber took off from a base in eastern Russia near the Pacific Ocean but it did not fly around Japan. Instead, it acted as a “communications relay” to pass radio traffic between the bombers flying around Japan, the officials said. READ MORE