Two strategic bombers have been patrolling neutral waters over the Sea of Japan, Russian defence ministry, Russian, while South Korea said the aircraft had entered its air defence identification zone.
The ministry, the journey took almost seven hours, and at some points along the way, South Korean F-16s were flying alongside Russian aircraft.
In reaction to two Russian Tu-95 bombers flying over waterways between the Korean Peninsula and Japan while being accompanied by a Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet, the South Korean military scrambled F-16 fighter fighters.
The South Korean military said that Russian warplanes had flown into its air defence identification zone (ADIZ) and that it had reacted by taking its customary “tactical action”—a phrase that often describes the dispatch of fighter jets to eject unauthorised foreign aircraft.
Without giving more information, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff stated in a statement that the action was taken to avoid unintentional collisions along its air defence identification zone.
A day before, in response to North Korea’s nuclear threat, South Korea and the United States had started their most extensive joint military training in years. Through September 1, aircraft, warships, tanks, and possibly tens of thousands of troops will be involved in the Ulchi Freedom Shield drills.
Warplanes from China and Russia have frequently flown into South Korea’s ADIZ in recent years due to competing claims to various zones.
An ADIZ, unlike airspace, is typically a zone where nations may unilaterally require that foreign aircraft take extra precautions to identify themselves. An ADIZ is not subject to any international regulations.
The ADIZ of South Korea is not acknowledged by Russia. China has stated that the region is not its own airspace and that all nations should be able to move freely across it.
A Russian military plane allegedly breached South Korea’s national airspace twice near its eastern coast in 2019, South Korea, which claimed its fighter jets fired hundreds of warning rounds in its direction. Russia denied that one of their planes had flown into South Korean airspace.