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Russia, U.S. to conduct mutual observation flights

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Moscow, Aug 13 (IANS) Russia and the United States will carry out observation flights over each other’s territories under the Treaty on Open Skies, the Russian Defence Ministry said.

A group of Russian inspectors plan to carry out an observation flight over the U.S. territory on a Russian Tu-154M LK-1 aircraft by Aug 19 from the Great Falls airfield in the U.S. state of Montana, the ministry said in a statement on Monday, Xinhua reported.

The Russian aircraft will fly along a route agreed on with the United States, and the U.S. specialists on board will control the use of surveillance equipment and ensure compliance with the provisions of the agreement, it said.

In a separate statement, the Russian Defence Ministry said that U.S. and Danish inspectors will perform a joint observation flight over the territory of Russia on a Ukrainian An-30B plane from August 19-23.

During the flight starting from the Kubinka airfield on the outskirts of Moscow, Russian specialists on the plane will monitor compliance of the mission with the agreed flight parameters, it said.

The Treaty on Open Skies took effect in 2002 and currently has 34 party states, including Russia, the United States and some member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The confidence-building and arms-control pact has established a system of observation flights over its members to gather information about their military forces and activities.



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