MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The representatives of the United States and Italy will perform the observation flights over Russia from August 17 to 22, under the international Treaty on Open Skies, said Sergey Ryzhkov, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry's National Center for Nuclear Risk Reduction.
"From 17 to 22 of August, in the framework of the international Open Skies Treaty, a joint mission of the United States and Italy will perform an observation flight over the territory of the Russian Federation on the American observation aircraft OC-135B, from the airport at Novosibirsk [Tolmachevo]," Ryzhkov said.
The Open Skies Treaty was signed in March 1992 and became one of the major confidence-building measures in Europe after the Cold War. It entered into force on January 1, 2002, and currently has 34 States Parties, including the majority of the NATO countries, as well as Russia, and neutral countries such as Sweden and Finland.
The treaty allows participating countries to openly gather information on the each other's military forces and activities. The flights of Russia and NATO countries are usually held on a reciprocal basis.