Russia will conduct two observation flights over the United States and one over the Italian territory this month under the Treaty on Open Skies, Sergei Ryzhkov, head of Russia’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, announced Sunday.
The flights, marking the second, third and fourth Russian observation flights this year over the territories of the participating countries, are being carried out to endorse transparency in military activities between Moscow, Washington and Rome. Last week, Russia conducted an observation flight over Greece between Feb. 9 and Feb. 13.
The new observation flights over the U.S. are set to be conducted between Feb. 16 and Feb. 28 from McConnell air force base in Kansas and Wright-Patterson air force base in Ohio. The maximum range of the flights will reach about 2,980 miles and 3,040 miles, respectively, RIA Novosti reported, citing Ryzhkov.
In December, Moscow guided a similar flight over the U.S., covering a maximum range of 2,640 miles. The flight was launched from Travis air force base in California.
The flight over Italy, on the other hand, will be conducted between Feb. 16 and Feb. 20. According Ryzhkov, a Russian Antonov An-30 aircraft will be launched from Ciampino, Rome, and it will cover a maximum range of 1,250 miles, RIA Novosti reported.
Signed in March 1992 in Helsinki, the Treaty on Open Skies came into force on Jan. 1, 2002. Russia ratified the treaty on May 26, 2001. The treaty allows 34 participating countries to carry out observation flights over each other's territories to gather information through aerial imaging on military forces and activities that are of concern to them.