Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Canada Sees More Russian Flights in the Arctic

INUVIK, Northwest Territories -- Canada is seeing an increase in Russian flights near its airspace in the Arctic as Moscow seeks to strengthen its sovereignty in the vast resource-rich region, Defense Minister Peter MacKay said.

"There have been a certain number of incidents recently that indicate a greater degree of activity on the part of Russia," MacKay told reporters late last week in the Arctic community of Inuvik.

He declined to disclose the number of such flights.

MacKay said Canada had asked Russia to notify it in advance when it was planning military flights near Canadian airspace. "That hasn't happened," he said.

MacKay was in Inuvik for a meeting of the government's major Cabinet members as part of a swing through the region by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that has emphasized Canada's sovereignty claims.

MacKay and Harper visited four CF18 Canadian military jets sent to Inuvik in response to what officials said was an unidentified aircraft that had neared Canadian air space.

The arrival of the aircraft was only "coincidental" to the political meeting, MacKay said. Officials declined to elaborate on the situation.