Russian bombers attempt to intrude on S. Korea's air defense zone

SEOUL, July 16 (Yonhap) -- Two Russian bombers made a botched attempt to violate South Korea's air defense safety zone in the East Sea but turned back after a warning from South Korean fighters, an Air Force officer said Tuesday.

The Tu-95 strategic bombers tried to enter into the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) over the East Sea at 11 a.m. on Monday, the officer said on condition of anonymity. Foreign airplanes and ships are required to get approval from South Korea's military before entering the KADIZ.

"Upon detecting the move, we immediately dispatched two F-15K fighter jets to the area, which sent warnings to interrupt it," he said, adding the Russian destroyers moved back to their planned route over international waters some 10 minutes later.

"It is not unusual for Russian bombers to fly toward the KADIZ. Whenever this happens, we send our fighters for surveillance and to hinder them," the officer said.

The KADIZ was designated by the commander of the U.S. Pacific Air Force Command in 1951 to prevent air clashes between nations surrounding the Korean Peninsula. Dokdo is included in the KADIZ.

Later in the day, Russia's defense ministry said its Air Force bombers carried out a combat readiness drill for 7 hours and 15 minutes in the Eastern Military District, claiming its pilots performed flights in "compliance with the international rules of using air space over neutral waters."

The ministry said two Tu-95 planes were "escorted" by a pair of Korean fighter jets and three Japanese combat jets. It said the Russian jets flew over the East Sea, the body of water between Korea and Japan, toward the direction of the Korean Peninsula, proceeded along the Japanese archipelago and then flew away north of Hokkaido.

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