Turkey’s fighter jets, acting as part of a NATO air battalion, intercepted four groups of Russian aircraft on Tuesday and Wednesday over the Black Sea.

Two Russian Tu-95 planes accompanied by fighter jets have been tracked by a Turkish aircraft over the Black Sea, while seven additional warplanes were monitored over the Baltic Sea over the past 48 hours.

According to initial NATO statements, several of the Russian TU-95 strategic bombers, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, were flying over international airspace.

Six of the aircraft immediately returned towards Russian airspace, but two of the warplanes continued to fly over the North Sea whilst being followed by British fighter jets, as well as Portuguese F-16s.

A Norwegian military spokesman said the incident did not represent a violation of international airspace; however, the large number of aircraft is a notable escalation in Russian military activity. More than 100 similar incidents have already been reported this year, approximately three times as many sorties than in 2013.