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US F-22s Intercept Russian Strategic Bombers Near Alaska For Second Time This Month
U.S. Air Force F-22 stealth fighters intercepted two Russian strategic bombers escorted by two fighter jets near Alaska on Tuesday, marking the second time Russia has done so in a month.
Two Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers, which are traditionally armed with a variety of air-launched cruise missiles, accompanied by Su-35 Flanker fighter jets were picked up by U.S. aircraft "west of mainland Alaska," North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a statement Wednesday.
A similar incident occurred on Sept. 1, the Washington Free Beacon first reported. A defense official told the newspaper that the Russian bombers, which entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), south of the Aleutian Islands, may have been practicing cruise missile strikes on US missile defense systems based in Alaska.
The purpose of the most recent flyby is unknown, but it comes as Russia and China kick off Russia's largest war games in decades. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, as first noted by Fox News, released a video Wednesday of two Cold War bombers escorted by fighter aircraft taking off for exercises from an airbase in eastern Russia.
The video is from the Vostok 2018 exercises, in which thousands of Chinese troops are training alongside hundreds of thousands of Russian forces.
It is unclear if the aircraft in the video are the same ones that were intercepted near Alaska.
Russia conducts operations and exercises of this nature regularly. In mid-August, Russia flew two supersonic nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers past Alaska, demonstrating that Moscow can deploy heavy bombers close to the United States. The Tu-160 bombers can carry six standard cruise missiles and 12 short-range nuclear missiles and fly at speeds greater than two times the speed of sound.
Defense officials told Fox News that two Russian bombers came within 55 miles of Alaska's west coast in May, although the aircraft did not enter U.S. airspace, as was the case in the other reported incidents. The flybys show a boldness on Russia's part as tensions between Moscow and Washington rise.
Read more from Business Insider:
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Senior defense officials offered a wide range of excuses to reporters on Wednesday about why they may not comply with a subpoena from House Democrats for documents related to the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
On Oct. 7, lawmakers subpoenaed information about military aid to Ukraine. Eight days later, a Pentagon official told them to pound sand in part because many of the documents requested are communications with the White House that are protected by executive privilege.
Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) will announce legislation Wednesday aiming to "fix" a new Trump administration citizenship policy that affects some children of U.S. service members stationed abroad.
The inside story of how The Village People shot the Navy's most controversial recruiting video onboard an active warship
The video opens innocently enough. A bell sounds as we gaze onto a U.S. Navy frigate, safely docked at port at Naval Base San Diego. A cadre of sailors, dressed in "crackerjack" style enlisted dress uniforms and hauling duffel bags over their shoulders, stride up a gangplank aboard the vessel. The officer on deck greets them with a blast of a boatswain's call. It could be the opening scene of a recruitment video for the greatest naval force on the planet.
Then the rhythmic clapping begins.
This is no recruitment video. It's 'In The Navy,' the legendary 1979 hit from disco queens The Village People, shot aboard the very real Knox-class USS Reasoner (FF-1063) frigate. And one of those five Navy sailors who strode up that gangplank during filming was Ronald Beck, at the time a legal yeoman and witness to one of the strangest collisions between the U.S. military and pop culture of the 20th century.
"They picked the ship and they picked us, I don't know why," Beck, who left the Navy in 1982, told Task & Purpose in a phone interview from his Texas home in October. "I was just lucky to be one of 'em picked."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.
"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."
Well, I feel better. How about you?
On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.
A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."
"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.
President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.
"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."
The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.