The US Navy scrambled four F/A-18 jets to intercept Russian warplanes which flew near a US aircraft carrier off the Korean peninsula, officials say.
A spokesman for the White House said the Russian planes flew close to the USS Ronald Reagan during a joint military exercise with South Korea.
Josh Earnest said the incident “did not result in significant confrontation”.
US-Russia relations have deteriorated, particularly over the conflicts in eastern Ukraine and Syria.
Mr Earnest said there were “vigorous disagreements” between the two countries, but that the chill in ties did not reflect the events of the Cold War.
A US Navy official told Reuters news agency that two Russian Tu-142 Bear aircraft flew within a nautical mile of the Reagan.
The incident took place in international waters and air space in the Sea of Japan on Tuesday, according to the White House.