British Military Inspectors to Fly Over Russia, Belarus

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British military inspectors will fly over the territories of Russia and Belarus starting from Monday as part of the international Open Skies Treaty, a Russian Defense Ministry official said.

MOSCOW, August 12 (RIA Novosti) - British military inspectors will fly over the territories of Russia and Belarus starting from Monday as part of the international Open Skies Treaty, a Russian Defense Ministry official said.

“In the period between August 12 and 16, a group of British experts will make a surveillance flight above the territories of Russia and Belarus on board of a Swedish SAAB-340 observation aircraft,” Ruslan Shishin, the acting head of the ministry’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, said.

Russian and Belarusian experts will also be on board the aircraft, to oversee the proper use of surveillance and filming equipment, he added.

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.

Under the treaty, each aircraft flying under the Open Skies program is fitted with a sensor suite including optical panoramic and framing cameras, video cameras with real-time display, thermal infrared imaging sensors, and imaging radar.

The image data recorded during the observation flights can be shared among all signatories to support the monitoring of compliance with existing or future arms control treaties.

 

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