Two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons flew over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea, prompting Finnish, Danish, Polish and Swedish aircraft to escort them.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, this was a regular flight and the Russian bombers strictly complied with international airspace rules.
Russia regularly conducts similar training flights over the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as over the Black and Baltic Seas, and some NATO members consider this policy a futile "militarization".
The Russian Defense Ministry said two Tupolev T-160 aircraft, which can carry up to 12 short-range nuclear missiles, were in the air for eight hours.
"At certain part of the route, the aircraft were accompanied by F-18s of the Finnish air force, F 16s of the Danish and Polish Air Force, as well as Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets of the Swedish Air Force," the statement said.
Russia issued a similar statement on Tuesday, saying that two Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bombers made a routine four-hour flight over the neutral waters of the Barents and Norwegian Seas, forcing Norway to scramble its aircraft to accompany them.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that advanced aircraft belonging to the Russian Baltic Fleet were rehearsing a strike on naval targets in the Baltic Sea.