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MOSCOW, December 12. /TASS/. Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has signed a contract with the European Commission on the use of Russia’s M-17RM unique high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft capable of flying at altitudes of up to 21.5 kilometers in a European Union scientific program, the Izvestiya daily reported Friday.
“The project is entitled StratoClim; 28 European organizations from Germany, Italy, Britain and other countries are taking part in it,” the newspaper quoted Gennady Belyayev, the chief engineer of the Myasishchev Experimental Machine-Building Plant making part of the UAC, as saying.
“The project is devoted to studying the Asian monsoon carrying air masses from Southeast Asia to the north via India,” Belyayev said.
The expedition is set for the summer of 2016; test flights to check the operation of equipment will take place in early 2016 in Sweden. The contract is worth several million euros.
In mid-September, the EU Official Journal announced sanctions against some Russian companies, including the UAC. But the punitive measures have not touched upon the contract to use the M-17RM for the purposes of European science.
Russian officials and companies came under the first batch of Western sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, after Russia incorporated Crimea in mid-March after a coup rocked Ukraine in February.
The West announced new, sectoral, restrictions against Russia in late July, in particular, for what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in protests in Ukraine’s south-east.
In response, on August 6 Russia imposed a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the EU, the United States and Norway.
Russia has constantly dismissed Western allegations that it could in any way be involved in hostilities in the south-east of Ukraine.