Russia’s military on Tuesday reported a MiG-31 fighter jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean on the southeastern coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula.
The announcement came after aerospace officials said four Russian military jets were tracked flying in airspace near Alaska on Monday. Only the Bering Sea separates Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula from Alaska, but it is not known if the two incidents are related.
According to a Tuesday story in the Associated Press, “The Russian air force has suffered a string of crashes that some observers have attributed to a higher number of flights amid the fighting in Ukraine and tensions with the West.” Another in the “string of crashes” happened in April when Meduza, an independent Russian news outlet, reported another MiG-31 crashed in the Murmansk region of Russia in April after one of the engines caught fire. The crew members safely ejected in that incident.
Kremlin-backed media outlets reported the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy fleet said the MiG-31 was on a training mission at the time of its crash into the Kamchatka Peninsula’s Avacha Bay. It is not currently known if two crew members who were reportedly on board the aircraft survived.
The RIA Novosti news agency wrote on Telegram that the fighter jet wasn’t carrying weapons. The press service added that search and rescue forces of the Pacific Fleet had been dispatched to the accident site.
Earlier on Tuesday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) revealed in a statement that four Russian military aircraft had entered into skies covered by the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Monday. The site is an area of international airspace that does not belong to the U.S. or Canada but is monitored for national security reasons.
“The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace. The Russian activity in the Alaska ADIZ occurs regularly and is not seen as a threat,” NORAD said in a statement.
The message continued, “ADIZ begins where sovereign airspace ends and is a defined stretch of international airspace that requires the ready identification of all aircraft in the interest of national security.”
Although NORAD noted it did not consider the presence of Russian aircraft in the zone to be a reason for concern, the incident occurred as tensions remain high between Russia and the U.S. due to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Throughout the war, the U.S. has been one of Ukraine’s most ardent supporters and has provided Kyiv with weapons and financial aid.
Newsweek reached out to NORAD and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs via email by email for further comment.
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