Two British Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled after two Russian military aircraft were detected approaching northern Scotland on Wednesday, the Ministry of Defence said.
The jets from RAF Leuchars in Scotland were sent to “determine the identity of unknown aircraft”, which turned away before reaching British airspace.
“The aircraft were subsequently identified as Russian military aircraft,” said a ministry spokesman.
“The Russian military aircraft remained in international airspace at all times as they are perfectly entitled to do so.”
RAF jets were deployed in similar circumstances eight times last year, but no Russian military flights ever entered UK airspace without authorisation, the spokesman said.