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MOSCOW, April 15 (Itar-Tass) - Russian inspectors on Monday are beginning an observation flight over Poland, Russian Defence Ministry’s press service told Itar-Tass.
“The group of inspectors in the period from April 15 to 19 within the framework of the implementation of the International Treaty on Open Skies will perform a flight over Poland on the An-30B plane from the Warsaw aerodrome, the maximum range of which on the previously agreed route will be 1.4 thousand kilometres,” the Russian Defence Ministry explained.
On board the plane the Russian experts, together with their Polish colleagues will oversee the procedure for the use of surveillance equipment and compliance with existing agreements.
“In 2013, it will be the tenth observation flight conducted by Russian representatives over the territories of the states - parties to the Treaty,” the Ministry of Defence said.
In turn, in the period from April 15 to 19 a joint team of inspectors of Turkey and Norway on the CN-235 plane will perform an observation flight over the territory of Russia.
“The flight will be carried out from the Kubinka airfield with a maximum range of 5.5 thousand kilometres,” the ministry’s press service said.
The surveillance plane belongs to a class of aircraft not intended for the use of any weapons.
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992 and covers 34 countries. The observation flights are performed over the US, Canadian, European and Russian territories. The Treaty on Open Skies entered into force on January 1, 2002. It establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants. 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 objectives of the open skies regime are to develop transparency, assist monitoring the implementation of agreements in the sphere of arms control, expand possibilities for crisis prevention and crisis management efforts within the framework of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other international organisations. In the future, the treaty provides for the possibility of extending the open skies regime to new spheres of cooperation, such as the protection of the environment.