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Romanian, US military inspectors to fly over Russia, Belarus

July 28, 2014, 2:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, July 28. /ITAR-TASS/. A joint mission of Romanian and US military inspectors will make observation flights over the territories of Russia and Belarus within the frames of the Open Skies Treaty starting on Monday, a high-ranking Russian military official said.

Sergei Ryzhkov, the head of the Russian National Centre for Reducing Nuclear Threat, said that a joint mission from Romania and the United States will make observation flights over the territories of Russia and Belarus between July 28 and August 1, flying Romanian reconnaissance aircraft Antonov An-30.

He added that the flights would be conducted along earlier agreed routes and Russian specialists on board the aircraft will accompany the Romanian and US inspectors controlling the use of surveillance equipment as well as observation of the treaty’s provisions.

Last week Russian inspectors conducted observation flights over the territories of Estonia and Finland. These were Russia’s 20th and 21st surveillance flights within the Open Skies Treaty starting this year.

The Open Skies Treaty was signed in 1992 and currently boasts 34 member states. The treaty entered into force in 2002. Surveillance flights are conducted over Russia, the United States, Canada and European countries.

The key tasks of the treaty are to develop transparency, monitor the fulfillment of armament control agreements, and expand capabilities to prevent crises within the frames of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other international organizations.

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