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

February 01, 2:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW
This will be the first observation flight by Russia over the territories of the Open Skies treaty members in 2016
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© ITAR-TASS/Lyudmila Pakhomova

MOSCOW, February 1. /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 Turkey," chief of the ministry’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center Sergey Ryzhkov said.

"The observation flight will be performed on February 1-5, 2016 from the Eskisehir airfield," Ryzhkov said, adding that maximum range of the flight will be 1,900 kilometers.

This will be the first observation flight by Russia over the territories of the Open Skies treaty members in 2016.

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 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.

Turkey claims Russia violated its airspace

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on January 30 claimed that a Russian Su-34 fighter jet violated its airspace on January 29. "Yesterday the Russian Aerospace Forces’ Su-34 violated Turkish airspace. Before the violation, Turkish radar stations repeatedly warned the Russian aircraft in Russian and in English," the statement said.

It said that on January 29 in the evening "the ambassador of the Russian Federation was summoned to the ministry" and a protest was lodged to him in connection with what happened. The Turkish ministry did not state where the alleged airspace violation occurred exactly.

Russia’s Defense Ministry on January 30 denied claims by Turkey that a Russian Su-34 fighter jet allegedly violated Turkish airspace on Friday.

"There have been no violations of Turkey’s airspace by aircraft of the Russian air group in the Syrian Arab Republic," the ministry said.

"Statements by the Turkish side of an alleged case of violation by the Russian Su-34 aircraft of airspace are unsubstantiated propaganda," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

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