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Russia to conduct observation flight in America

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WASHINGTON, July 7 (RIA Novosti, Arkady Orlov) - Russia will conduct its second observation flight this year over America and take photographs of U.S. territory within the framework of the Open Skies Treaty, a source in the U.S. State Department said.

"An unarmed Russian Tu-154, which has been certified under the agreement, will land on Monday July 11 at an international airport in Washington, D.C.," the press-service said.

From Washington the plane will take off for Wright-Patterson Air Force base in Ohio, where it will later start the observation flight.

The 4,900-kilometer flight will follow a course the Russian side chooses in advance.

"The Russian aircraft is equipped with optical cameras and the United States will later receive copies of the material taken during the mission," the department said.

According to the U.S. State Department, Russia has a right to take photographs anywhere in America along the selected course.

Russia will conduct the mission with Belarus. An accompanying group from the U.S. Department of the Defense will be on board the Tu-154 during the mission.

This observation flight will be Russia's fourth since the Open Skies Treaty came into force on January 1, 2002 and the second since the beginning of this year.

The USA has carried out 19 observation flights over Russia and Belarus.

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