The United States and France will conduct an observation flight over Russia as part of the Treaty on Open Skies between March 9 and March 13, Sputnik News reported Wednesday. Russian experts will be on board to supervise conformity of the agreed parameters of the flight and the use of observation equipment, the report added.
"A joint mission of the United States and France will conduct an observational flight over the Russian Federation on a US OC-135B observation aircraft from the Khabarovsk airfield," Ruslan Shishin, acting chief of Russia’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, said, according to Sputnik News.
The Treaty on Open Skies, which was signed in 1992 and has 34 member states, was created to develop transparency, monitor the fulfillment of armament control agreements, and expand capabilities to prevent crises in the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other international organizations. The treaty came in to effect in 2002 with surveillance flights being conducted over Russia, the U.S., Canada and European countries.
Last November, U.S. and Canadian military surveillance teams conducted a series of observation flights over Russia. A team of U.S. and Ukrainian teams conducted similar flights over Russia last March, while Moscow arranged for its Open Skies team to fly over Greece in February 2015.