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Sun Jun 23, 2019, 12:52 PM

Report: 2 Russian Tu-95 Strategic Bombers Violate Japan's Airspace

The Diplomat
Report: 2 Russian Tu-95 Strategic Bombers Violate Japan's Airspace
By Franz-Stefan Gady
June 20, 2019

Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) reports that two nuclear-capable Russian Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bombers have violated the country’s airspace off the Japanese island of Minamidaitō southeast of Okinawa and off Hachijō island in the Philippine Sea on June 20.

According to the MoD, a total of three Tu-95MS bombers conducted a long-range patrol along the eastern and western rims of the Japanese archipelago circumventing all major islands — Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu–in the course of the flight.

It is unclear whether the Russian bombers were accompanied by fighter aircraft during today’s long-range aerial patrol. Given the distance flown it is likely that the Tu-95MSs received midair refueling while on their mission.

Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) reportedly scrambled fighter jets to intercept the Russian military aircraft. In response to the Japanese allegations, the Russian MoD claimed later that there were no border violations during the flight operation.


There is confusion about the number of aircraft in the Diplomat report. Stars and Stripes reports two bombers and has a chart showing two airspace incursions east of Japan.


According to an anonymous South Korean defense official two Russian bombers operated on the southward leg in the East Sea/Sea of Japan in a routine manner communicating with South Korean airspace authorities when they penetrated the ROK ADIZ for period of 29 minutes. One South Korean F-15 responded according to Shin In Kyun Defense Daily 6.23. Shin reported that the flight originated from the Ukrainka Long Range Aviation air base in Russia.

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