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Britain Demands Explanation of Russian Bombers Flying Near Airspace

FILE - In this photo provided by Britain's Royal Air Force and taken on Oct. 29, 2014, a Russian military long range bomber aircraft photographed by an intercepting RAF quick reaction Typhoon (QRA) flies in international airspace.

Britain summoned Russia's ambassador Thursday to explain why two Russian Bear long-range bombers flew close to British airspace, forcing British authorities to divert civil aircraft.

The Foreign Office said in a statement that Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon jets were scrambled to intercept the Russian bombers, which were in a “U.K. area of interest” on Wednesday.

Russian planes did not enter British airspace but flew over the English Channel without communicating with British air traffic control.

Britain called the maneuvers "part of an increasing pattern of out-of-area operations by Russian aircraft.”

Britain's Ministry of Defense said it intercepts Russian planes about once a month.

NATO conducted more than 100 intercepts of Russian planes in 2014, three times more than the year before.

Russian air activity in the region also has become a matter of concern for other countries in the area.

An Estonian air force officer said January 27 that Baltic air space violations by Russia have increased with the intensification of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014.

On Wednesday, Lithuania’s Defense Ministry began distributing wartime survival manuals to schools around the country.

Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.