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Russian inspectors to perform observation flight over Turkey — Russian Defense Ministry

December 14, 2015, 0:22 UTC+3
The observation flight will be performed on December 14-18, 2015 from the Erzurum airfield
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© Lydmila Pahomova/TASS

MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. Russian inspectors will perform an observation flight over the territory of Turkey within the framework of the Open Skies Treaty, a senior Russian Defense Ministry official said.

"As part of implementation of the international Open Skies Treaty, a Russian group of inspectors plans to conduct a surveillance flight on board a Russian An-30B aircraft over the territory of the Turkish Republic," chief of the ministry’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center Sergey Ryzhkov said.

"The observation flight will be performed on December 14-18, 2015 from the Erzurum airfield," Ryzhkov said, adding that maximum range of the flight will be 1,500 kilometers.

He said the flight would be conducted along an agreed route, and Turkish specialists on board will control the use of surveillance equipment and observation of treaty provisions.

The Turkish Air Force’s F-16 fighter on November 24 shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber, involved in Russia's antiterrorism operation in Syria, that Ankara claims violated the country’s airspace on the border with Syria.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said the Su-24M was above Syrian territory and "there was no violation of Turkey’s airspace." It said the Turkish Air Force fighter violated Syria’s airspace.

Relations between Russia and Turkey considerably deteriorated after the incident. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that Turkey’s attack will have "serious consequences" for Russian-Turkish relations.

The Open Skies Treaty was signed in 1992 and has 34 member states. It entered into force in 2002. Surveillance flights are conducted over Russia, the United States, Canada and European countries.

The key tasks of the treaty are 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.

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