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US, Estonian observers to perform observation flight over Russia, Belarus

April 06, 2015, 2:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A group of inspectors will perform an observation flight as part of implementation of the international Open Skies Treaty

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MOSCOW, April 6. /TASS/. A group of inspectors from the United States and Estonia will perform an observation flight over the territories of Russia and Belarus, a senior Russian Defense Ministry official said Monday.

"On April 6-11, as part of implementation of the international Open Skies Treaty, the US mission, with participation of Estonian representatives, plans to perform an inspection flight over the territories of Belarus and Russia on board an American [Boeing] OC-135B aircraft," chief of the ministry’s national Nuclear Risk Reduction Center Sergey Ryzhkov told TASS.

During the flight, which will be performed along an agreed route, Russian and Belarusian specialists on board will control the use of surveillance equipment and observation of treaty provisions, Ryzhkov said.

The Open Skies Treaty was signed in 1992 and has 34 member states. It 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 in the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other international organizations.

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