Two Typhoon fighter jets from RAF Lossiemouth were scrambled to monitor Russian bombers which passed near UK airspace.
The Tupolev TU-160 Blackjack bombers were in the UK’s “area of interest” to the west of the Outer Hebrides and the Republic of Ireland but did not enter British territorial airspace, the RAF said.
Typhoon jets from RAF Lossiemouth and also RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire were scrambled to keep watch on the bombers in the latest sign of Russian military activity close to the UK.
An RAF spokesman said: “We can confirm that quick reaction alert Typhoon aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby scrambled to monitor two Blackjack bombers while they were in the UK area of interest.
“At no point did the Russian aircraft enter UK territorial airspace.”
The nuclear-capable Blackjack, the largest bomber aircraft in the world, were monitored coming from the north east and passed to the west of Ireland.
The Typhoon fighters were supported by a Voyager tanker from RAF Brize Norton during the operation.
The RAF and Royal Navy have been frequently called on to monitor Russian planes and warships in recent years.
In January, Type 23 frigate HMS St Albans was deployed to “man mark” the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and its battlegroup as the vessels sailed close to UK territorial waters returning from operations supporting the offensive in Syria.
The Kuznetsov group had previously passed through the Channel last autumn on its way to the Mediterranean and was escorted by Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan and Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond.