NORAD has confirmed to Fox News that Russian bombers broadcast a Fourth of July audio message when they were intercepted off the California coast. 

Air Force fighter jets were scrambled to meet the Tu-95 turboprop planes, which are referred to as Russian Bear bombers and are capable of carrying nuclear weapons. 

The long-range bombers were intercepted on July 4 just 39 miles from the California coast. 

NORAD has now confirmed that American pilots received an audio message from a Russian pilot on a radio frequency used during these types of situations.

"Good morning, American pilots. We are here to greet you on your Fourth of July Independence Day," the message stated.

At about the same time, a second incident occurred in an area known as the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone. 

The United States military says if a plane is flying in that area, it will be intercepted. The Russian bombers never encroached into United States airspace in either incident. 

Vittert noted that as these incidents were occurring, Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Obama to wish him a Happy Fourth of July.

Vittert called these flights "the largest and most aggressive actions by the Russians we have seen since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991."

At the time of the intercepts, NORAD declined to confirm whether the bombers were armed. A similar incident occurred on July 4, 2013.

Watch Leland Vittert's full report below.


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