24 Feb 2020 10:56

Russian inspectors to make observation flight over Turkey

MOSCOW. Feb 24 (Interfax) - Russian inspectors will carry out an observation flight over Turkey's territory under the Open Skies Treaty, head of the National Nuclear Threat Reduction Center Sergei Ryzhkov said.

"As part of the implementation of the International Open Skies Treaty, the Russian Federation plans to carry out an observation flight aboard a Russian [Tupolev] TU-154M LK-1 observation plane over the territory of the Turkish Republic," Ryzhkov said.

The flight will be performed from the Eskisehir Open Skies airfield from February 25 to February 28, he said. Its maximum range will be 1,900 kilometers.

"The Russian observation plane will carry out the flight along the route agreed upon with the observed party, and Turkish specialists aboard the plane will monitor the use of observation equipment and compliance with the provisions of the treaty," he said.

Relations between Moscow and Ankara have been tense recently due to the situation in Syria's Idlib. For instance, Russia accused the Turkish military of carrying out artillery strikes on positions of Syrian government forces and of backing militants' attack on the Syrian army.

The Open Skies Treaty was signed by 23 member states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Helsinki on March 24, 1992. Russia ratified it in May 2001. Today, the treaty has 34 party states. The treaty permits each party state to conduct observation flights over the others' territories in order to collect data on military forces and activities.