A group of Russian military observers begin on Sunday a four-day inspection mission in the skies of France under the Open Skies Treaty, the Defense Ministry’s press office reported.
“Aboard the An-30B aircraft, a group of Russian inspectors will make a surveillance flight over the territory of France on October 28-31 as part of the Open Skies International Treaty,” the press office said.
The flight will be conducted from France’s Orleans-Bricy aerodrome, with the maximum flight range totaling 2,078 km (1,291 miles) under the agreed flight route.
“In 2012, this will be the 34th surveillance flight by Russia over the territories of countries that are parties to the treaty,” the press office said.
During the flight, Russian and French specialists will exercise control over the use of surveillance system equipment and compliance with existing accords, the press office said.
The Open Skies Treaty, signed in 1992 at the initiative of US President George H.W. Bush, established 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.
The treaty entered into force on January 1, 2002 and its regime covers the national territories (land, islands, and internal and territorial waters) of all the treaty signatory states. It is an important element of the European security structure.