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US inspectors beginning observation flight over Russia

July 30, 2012, 10:25 UTC+3
“The flight will be performed from the Kubinka airfield, the maximum flight range is 5 thousand and 500 kilometres,” the Russian Defence Ministry specified
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MOSCOW, July 30 (Itar-Tass) — Representatives of the United States within the framework of the International Treaty on Open Skies will perform an observation flight on the US OC-155B plane over the territory of Russia and Belarus in the period from July 30 to August 4, the Russian Defence Ministry’s press service told Itar-Tass on Monday.

“The flight will be performed from the Kubinka airfield, the maximum flight range is 5 thousand and 500 kilometres,” the Russian Defence Ministry specified. “The OC-155B plane belongs to the class of aircraft not designed to be equipped with any weapons. Technical observation equipment installed on it has passed international certification with the participation of Russian experts, which rules out the use of technical means not provided for by the Treaty on Open Skies.”

“During the flight on the agreed upon route the Russian and Belarusian specialists will monitor strict adherence to the coordinated flight parameters and the use of the observation equipment stipulated by the Treaty,” the ministry said.

The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992. Its signatories are 34 states. At present, the observation flights are performed over the territory of Russia, the United States, Canada and European countries. A total of more than 800 flights have been performed by the states since the moment the treaty came into force.

The treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information about military forces and activities of concern to them. Open Skies is one of the most wide-ranging international efforts to date promoting openness and transparency of military forces and activities.

The main objective of the ‘open skies’ regime is the development of openness and transparency, assistance to monitoring the implementation of existing or future agreements on arms control and enhancement of the crisis prevention and crisis management possibilities within the framework of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and other relevant international organisations. In the future, the possibility of expanding the ‘open skies’ regime to new spheres such as environmental protection is envisaged.

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