AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Two Russian strategic bombers were intercepted by Belgian F-16 fighter planes after entering NATO airspace over the North Sea on Friday, the Dutch Defence Ministry said.

The planes, identified by the ministry as Tu-160 “Blackjack” supersonic bombers, were then escorted further by the British Air Force.

“Russian military aircraft occasionally enter NATO airspace without identifying themselves,” the statement said. “The fighter jets followed the Russians until the British Royal Air Force took over the escort.”

NATO planes are scrambled from either the Netherlands or Belgium when an aircraft flies near or into Dutch airspace without making radio contact, it said.

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Toby Sterling; Editing by Kevin Liffey)