Japan’s air space was entered by two Russian TU-95 bombers on Thursday, near the southern island of Kyushu. Japan protested and scrambled its fighter jets immediately, according to government officials, but Russia denied any intrusion.
The bombers flew less than two minutes in Japan’s airspace. The last such incursion occurred in February, when two Russian fighters were detected near the northern island of Hokkaido.
Russia denied entering Japan’s airspace, but the latter scrambled F-2 combat jets in response.
“Two Tu-95MS strategic bombers conducted routine flights over the neutral waters in the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean,” the Russian Defense Ministry said, according to the international press.
“According to control equipment on board, state borders were not violated. The long-haul aircraft were accompanied by Japanese Air Force fighter jets throughout their flight over neutral waters.”
The incident comes after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in April to revive talks on resolving a long-running territorial dispute over several islets called the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.
So far, the dispute has stopped Japan and Russia from signing a treaty that would officially end their World War Two hostilities.