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Mr. McInerney said the incursions are the most sophisticated since the Cold War. He made the assessment based on an Air Force briefing he received last fall at Elmendorf.

The retired general called the exercises “coordinated attacks coming into our air defense identification zone. They are very sophisticated attack training maneuvers. These incursions are far more sophisticated than anything we had seen before.”

He said the Russian army air force is launching Bear bombers from Tiksi on the Arctic Ocean and Anadyr in Siberia. They are flying against the air defense identification zone from both the polar caps and from the south. The Air Force statement said it has “monitored Russian aircraft taking off from a variety of air bases across their country.”