(Newsroom America) -- Russian heavy bombers tested U.S. air defenses near Alaska earlier this month during a chilly summit between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, as part of large-scale arctic war games, a report said Wednesday.
The Washington Free Beacon, quoting unnamed senior defense officials, said the Russian aircraft flew close enough to U.S. airspace to warrant launching of F-15 fighter jets to intercept.
The war games began on the same day Obama and Putin met at a summit in Mexico June 18.
U.S. officials said the war games appeared to be a further sign of Moscow's hardening stance towards Washington.
The report went on to say that the Obama administration did not protest the bomber intrusion, as part of its "reset" policy of trying to seek warming relations with Russia.
The exercises featured some 30 strategic aircraft, including Tu-95MS Bear H and Tu-160 Blackjack nuclear-capable bombers, Il-76 refueling tankers, A-50 airborne warning and control aircraft, and Su-27 and MiG-31 jet fighters. About 200 troops also took part in the exercise, the report said.
The Beacon said U.S. defense officials had no comment on the paper's report.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a former Alaska North American Aerospace Defense commander, told the paper the exercises should be cause for concern.
"The Russians continue to exercise our air defense identification zone, which shows Mr. Putin loves to let President Obama know that they still have global capability," he said. "So much for reset."
© 2012 Newsroom America.