Moscow Not Opposed to Ukrainian Inspection Flight Over Russia

MOSCOW, May 23 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow is not opposed to Ukraine conducting an inspection flight over Russian territory, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Friday.

“We’re not against that type of flight. We would like to understand what has brought on the necessity of such a flight though. We will discuss this issue during a consultation committee within the Open Skies Agreement, which is scheduled for May 26,” Antonov said.

Antonov added that the Russian-Ukrainian border is constantly under the surveillance of Western partners.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia has pulled its troops back from regions near the border with Ukraine in order to facilitate conditions for its western neighbor’s upcoming presidential elections on Sunday.

Antonov later confirmed that the withdrawal of troops from temporary bases near the Ukrainian border was already under way. According to the Defense Ministry, after returning to their permanent bases the troops will begin drills starting June 1.

The Ukrainian State Border Guard Service announced Monday it had not detected any Russian troops within ten kilometers of Ukraine’s eastern border during aerial inspections.

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