Mark Duell — Daily Mail April 23, 2014
The aircraft, believed to be Tupolev 95s, were spotted off the coast of north-east Scotland – but turned away when the British jet fighter took off from Leuchars airbase, near St Andrews in Fife.
Incidents of foreign planes flying close to UK airspace are surprisingly common – with eight similar occurrences reported last year, according to the Ministry of Defence.
Defence experts say Russia uses such surveillance flights to remind the world of its military might and to probe other countries’ air defence systems.
The incident comes as international tensions heighten over the Ukraine situation, after last month’s annexation of Crimea by Russia.
An MoD spokesman said: ‘Typhoon quick reaction alert aircraft were launched today from RAF Leuchars to determine the identity of unknown aircraft that approached the Nato air policing area north of Scotland and could not be identified by other means.
‘The aircraft were subsequently identified as Russian military aircraft.
‘The Russian military aircraft remained in international airspace at all times as they are perfectly entitled to do so.
‘Russian military flights have never entered UK sovereign airspace without authorisation.’