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Russian military to perform observation flights over Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia

A joint German-US mission will make a flight over Russia

MOSCOW, October 6. /TASS/. A team of Russian inspectors will perform observation flights over Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in a period from October 7 to 10, and a joint German-US mission will make a flight over Russia, the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper reported on Sunday citing Sergei Ryzhkov, the head of Russia’s Nuclear Risk Reduction Center.

"As part of the implementation of the 2011 Vienna Document on Confidence and Security-Building Measures, a Russian team of inspectors plans to inspect an area over Switzerland to verify the scale of military activities as notified or the lack of any. The area to be surveyed is about 16,000 square kilometers. As part of inspection, the Russian specialists will visit training grounds and will be briefed about army units deployed in this area," he said.

Russian inspectors also plan to make an observation flight over an area of about 16,000 square kilometers in the Czech Republic over the same period. Apart from that, the Russian inspectors will perform an observation flight onboard a Russian An-30B plane over Slovakia to a maximum distance of 1,170 kilometers.

"In a period from October 7 through 11, a joint mission of Germany and the United States will perform an observations flight over Russia onboard a Swedish SAAB-340B plane from the Kubinka airfield under the Open Skies Treaty. The flight will be performed along the route agreed upon with the Russia side. Russian specialists will be on board the plane to monitor compliance with the provisions of the treaty," Ryzhkov was quoted as saying.

The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in March 1992 in Helsinki by 24 member nations of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The main purposes of the open skies regime are to develop transparency, render assistance in monitoring compliance with the existing or future arms control agreements, broaden possibilities for preventing crises and managing crisis situations. The treaty establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants. Now, the treaty has more than 30 signatory states. Russia ratified the Treaty on Open Skies on May 26, 2001.