MOSCOW, March 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russian military inspectors will make surveillance flights over the territories of Germany and the Benelux countries under the international Open Skies Treaty within a period starting Monday, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Russian experts will conduct the inspection flights on board an Antonov An-30B (Clank) aircraft between March 18 and 23, the spokesman said.
The aircraft will take off from Germany’s Cologne/Bonn Airport to cover a total distance of 1,300 kilometers (808 miles) over Germany and 945 km (587 miles) over Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
During the flight, Russian and foreign specialists will monitor the operation of surveillance equipment on board the aircraft as set out in the Open Skies Treaty.
The Open Skies Treaty, which entered into force on January 1, 2002, establishes 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. Russia ratified the deal in May 2001.
Meanwhile, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman told journalists that Czech and US inspectors would conduct an inspection flight over Russia in the same period, between March 18 and 23, on board a US [Boeing] OC-135B observation aircraft under the treaty.