BRUSSELS, Belgium: Russia sent six groups of military aircraft along NATO borders, requiring NATO to scramble fighter jets to intercept them.

The Russian jets were intercepted above the North Atlantic, North Sea, Black Sea and Baltic Sea, earlier this week, officials said.

“Intercepting multiple groups of Russian aircraft demonstrates NATO forces’ readiness and capability to guard Allied skies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” Brigadier General Andrew Hansen, Deputy Chief of Staff Operations at Allied Air Command, Ramstein, Germany, said.

In under six hours, pilots from Norway, Turkey, Britain, Belgium, Italy, Romania, and Bulgaria participated in turning back the Russians.

According to NATO, the Russian aircraft never entered alliance airspace.

Russian aircraft were intercepted flying near Norway’s coast, near Belgium and British borders, as well as near Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria.

Last week, officials reported that two Russian Tu-160 heavy bombers flew into an area where NATO was conducting Bomber Task Force exercises with the U.S. Air Force.