MOSCOW, August 19. /TASS/. The US military will carry out an observation flight over Russia’s territory from August 19 to August 24, while Russian specialists will conduct an observation flight over the UK from August 19 to August 23, the Russian Defense Ministry’s daily Krasnaya Zvezda reported on Monday citing head of the National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center Sergei Ryzhkov.
"Russia plans to perform an observation flight over Britain under the Treaty on Open Skies using an Antonov An-30B surveillance aircraft. It will be carried out from the Brize Norton Open Skies airfield between August 19 and August 23. The US mission will make an observation flight over Russia aboard an OC-135B Open Skies United States Air Force surveillance aircraft from August 19 to August 24," the paper wrote.
Observation flights are aimed at boosting transparency in the member states’ military activities and 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 (OSCE). The accord includes 34 countries, among them most NATO members, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sweden and Finland. 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. Russia ratified the treaty on May 26, 2001.