MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. A joint mission of Canada, the UK and Ukraine will perform an observation flight in the period from April 18 to 22 over Russian territory within the framework of the International Treaty on Open Skies, Russia’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center reported on Monday with reference to its head Sergei Ryzhkov.
"During the flight on an agreed in advance route Russian experts on board the observation plane will monitor strict compliance with the agreed flight parameters and the use of the observation equipment provided for by the Treaty", the report says.
The flight will be carried on the Canadian observation aircraft C-130J that will take off from the Kubinka airfield outside Moscow. "The C-130J plane and observation equipment [aerial cameras] installed on it has been internationally certified, including by Russian experts, which excludes the possibility of using technical equipment not envisaged by the Treaty on Open Skies," Ryzhkov said.
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992 and has 34 member states. 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.
The Treaty on Open Skies (25 signatories, effective January 1, 2002) establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its signatories. The Treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information through aerial imaging on military forces and activities of concern to them. Open Skies is one of the most wide-ranging international arms control efforts to date to promote openness and transparency in military forces and activities.