Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth to intercept two Russian bombers, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.
The initially unidentified jets were detected flying over the Atlantic in international airspace on Thursday evening.
The Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers were later escorted by the RAF jets.
The MoD said at the Russian military aircraft never crossed into UK airspace at any stage.
An RAF spokesperson said: "RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter aircraft were launched overnight from RAF Lossiemouth on a Nato air policing mission after unidentified aircraft were detected flying over the Atlantic in international airspace.
"The aircraft were identified as Russian Tu-160 Blackjack aircraft which were escorted by the RAF until they were clear of the UK area of interest.
"At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace."
It is the latest of several similar incidents involving Russian military aircraft flying close to UK airspace.
Last month, RAF Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth were scrambled to intercept two similar aircraft flying over the North Sea.
And in May, Russian "Bear" strategic bombers were intercepted after being spotted north of Scotland.