Russian inspectors begin surveillance flight over US

April 8th, 2012 - 7:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, April 8 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A group of Russian military observers begin Sunday a nine-day inspection mission in the skies of the US under the Open Skies Treaty.

According to the Russian Defence Ministry, Russia’s Tupolev Tu-154 LK-1 will take off Sunday from the Travis Air Force Base, located in California, while the maximum range of the flight will total 4,250 km (2,640 miles).

“Russian and US experts on board the plane will monitor the implementation of agreements on the use of technical equipment for the observation,” the ministry said in a statement earlier this week.

The Open Skies Treaty, signed in 1992 at the initiative of former US president George H.W. Bush, established a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 34 member states to promote openness and the transparency of military forces and activities.

The treaty came into force Jan 1, 2002 and its regime covers the national territories (land, islands, and internal and territorial waters) of all the treaty signatory states. It is an important element of the European security structure.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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