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Russian observers to hold inspection flights over Britain, Northern Ireland

June 01, 2015, 1:41 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, June 1. /TASS/. A group of Russian military inspectors will make observation flights over the territories of Britain and Northern Ireland within the frames of the Open Skies Treaty starting on Monday, a high-ranking Russian military official said.

Ruslan Shishin, an acting head of the Russian National Centre for Reducing Nuclear Threat, said that Russian inspectors will make observation flights over the territory of Britan and Northern Ireland between June 1 and 6, flying Russian reconnaissance aircraft Antonov An-30B.

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

This will be the 16th inspection flight of the Russian military observers over the territories of the Open Skies Treaty member states. The 2,400 kilometers (almost 1,500 miles) flight will begin from the RAF Brize Norton airfield.

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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