Russia, Belarus to carry out observation flight over France


MOSCOW, April 18 (Xinhua) -- A group of Russian and Belarusian experts will carry out an observation flight on Russian An-30B jet over the territory of France, Russia's Defense Ministry said on its website on Tuesday.

"Within the framework of the international Treaty on Open Skies, in a period from April 18 to April 22, Russian and Belarusian experts plan to carry out an observation flight over the territory of the French Republic from the Open Skies airfield Orleans Bricy," Sergei Ryzhkov, head of the ministry's Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, was quoted as saying.

Ryzhkov said the flight will follow an agreed route. French experts will be on board to ensure the observation equipment will be used in compliance with the treaty.

The observation flight, with a maximum range of up to 2,078 km, will promote openness and transparency of military activities, he added.

The Treaty on Open Skies was signed on March 1992 and became one of the major confidence-building measures in Europe after the Cold War.

It took effect in 2002 and currently has 34 state parties, including Russia and most members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).


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