Before Obama Visited Canada, Russian Bomber Did

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2009 2:42 PM CST
Before Obama Visited Canada, Russian Bomber Did
A Russian Tupolev-160 warplane was headed toward Canadian airspace ahead of President Obama's Feb. 19 visit to Ottawa. Canadian jets scrambled to meet the bomber, which turned back.   (AP Photo)

On the day before President Obama’s recent visit to Canada, that nation’s warplanes turned back a Russian bomber, the National Post reports. The plane did not enter Canadian airspace, but the incident still alarmed officials, who have striven to enforce sovereignty. “When we see a Russian bear approaching Canadian air space, we meet them with an F-18,” said Defense Minister Peter MacKay.

A day after the Feb. 18 incident, Ottawa’s airspace was closed off to all traffic save Air Force One. The Russian jet was spotted by the US and Canada’s joint air-defense command, and fighter jets scrambled to intercept. A Russian official said the flight was planned; rejoined MacKay, “It was a strong coincidence, which we met.” (More Canada stories.)

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