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British Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian long-range bombers near UK airspace north of Scotland, Britain's Ministry of Defence confirmed for NBC News on Thursday.

The Russian military aircraft did not cross into UK sovereign airspace and at no time was there deemed to be a threat from the Russian planes, the Ministry of Defence said.

Intercepts of Russian aircraft by NATO have increased over the last year amid heightened tensions between the West and Moscow over the crisis in the Ukraine. This latest encounter is part of a string of similar incidents involving Russian planes and boats near European NATO members' airspace and waters.

"The aircraft were identified as Russian Bear aircraft which were escorted by the RAF Typhoon fighters until they were out of the UK area of interest. At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace," according to a statement from the Ministry of Defence.

— Alexander Smith and Reuters contributed.