US fighter planes have intercepted and escorted two Russian bombers in international airspace off the coast of Alaska.

The TU-95 Bear bombers flew within 100 miles (160 km) of Alaska's Kodiak Island before being intercepted by two American F-22 Raptors on Monday (17th April).

The US pilots escorted the Russian planes for 12 minutes before the TU-95s changed course and departed towards eastern Russia.

CNN report that the Russian planes were within international air space but inside the Alaskan Air Defence Identification Zone, meaning they should in theory have identified themselves and their destination. The planes were 280 miles south west of the Elmendorf Air Force Base when the Raptors were scrambled. The Russian planes also flew near the Aleutian Islands.

Pentagon spokesman and Navy Commander Gary Ross said the intercept procedure was "safe and professional." US officials also said the Russian behaved professionally, although there was no "cockpit-to-cockpit" radio contact.

Monday's incident was not the first incident. In 4 July, 2015 Russian bombers appeared off California and Alaska.

Victory Day Moscow
Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers fly in formation above the two-headed eagle statue at the top of the State Historical Museum in Moscow Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

On that occasion Russian planes approached within 40 miles of the US coast. According to CNN, the Russians broadcast a message saying: "Good morning, American pilots. We are here to greet you on your Fourth of July Independence Day."

Relations between the US and Russia still appear to be deteriorating, following the US cruise missile attack in Syria and Russia's involvement in the conflict. Earlier in April, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson admitted relations with Moscow were at a low point.

Russian planes have also been intercepted off the UK coast on frequent occasions.