MOSCOW, July 29. /TASS/. The US and Italian military will conduct an Open Skies observation mission over Russia between July 29 and August 2, while Russia will carry out an observation flight over Norway, Russia’s Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) newspaper reported on Monday, citing Acting Chief of the National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center Ruslan Shishin.
"Russia plans to conduct an observation flight over Norway in accordance with the Open Skies Treaty using an Antonov An-30 survey aircraft. The flight will be carried out from the Bardufoss Open Skies airfield between July 29 and August 2," the newspaper wrote. "At the same time… the United States and Italy will carry out a joint observation mission over Russia from the Kubinka airfield on an OC-135B Open Skies United States Air Force observation aircraft."
The observation flights are aimed at boosting transparency in terms of member states’ military activities, as well as at strengthening security.
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in Helsinki on March 24, 1992, by the member-states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and went into force on January 1, 2002. The accord includes 34 countries, among them, most NATO members, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sweden and Finland. Russia ratified the Treaty on May 26, 2001. The purpose of the deal is to help build confidence between countries through the improvement of mechanisms to control military activities and compliance with arms control agreements.