Russia jets interception
"They call it interception and we call it escort," says Russia on UK scrambling jets near British airspaceTatyana Makeyeva/Reuters file photo

"Our aircraft acted totally in the framework of international regulations without violating anything. They call it interception and we call it escort," is Moscow's answer while addressing the issue of the latest aerial drama near British airspace after the UK scrambled jets to intercept Russian bombers.

RAF Typhoons were launched after Russian aircraft were cruising close to the UK airspace and forced them to turn back.

The MoD did not specify the exact location where the incident occurred, but the Russian planes are believed to have returned north, past Norway after the RAF interception. The Russian aircraft are thought to be the 1950s-era Tupolev TU-95 Bear bombers. Moscow insists that the aircraft's flight were scheduled.

Defending Russia's position flying its aircraft in international airspace, Moscow's defence ministry spokesperson major general Igor Konashenkov said: "Our planes did not violate any rules. They were just joined by British aircraft, which escorted them and flew back."

The incident took place at a time when Britain is gearing up to host a Nato exercise, in which over 50 warships would participate in northern Scotland.

"The flight route stretched over the neutral waters of the Barents and Norwegian Seas and the Atlantic Ocean. The crews of Tu-95MS had refuelling in the air provided by Ilyushin Il-78 [Nato reporting name: Midas] aerial refuelling tanker. The flight duration was over 15 hours," said the Russian defence ministry spokesperson.

"At certain stretches of the flight route the bombers were also accompanied by [British] Royal Air Force Typhoon fighters and Danish Air Force F-16 fighters."

This is the latest in a series of increasing aerial encounters between Russian jets and western aircraft. More than 100 Russian aircraft have been intercepted near British airspace in the past 12 months alone.