Russia to Conduct Open Skies Observation Flight Over Greece

The Russian group of inspectors plans to perform an observation flight on a Russian An-30B observation plane over the territory of the Greek Republic as part of the Treaty on Open Skies, according to Sergey Ryzhkov, head of the Russian National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center.

The observation flight over Greece will be performed from 17 to 21 February 2020 from the Nea Anchialos airfield. The maximum flight range will be 1010 kilometers.

The Russian observation aircraft will fly along the agreed route, and the Greece’s representatives on board will monitor the use of special equipment and compliance with the provisions of the Treaty on Open Skies.

The Treaty on Open Skies, which entered into force on January 1, 2002, establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its 34 participants.

Aerial reconnaissance flights on the basis of the Open Skies Treaty are conducted in order to verify that the arms control agreements in force are respected by the overflown country. The flights can be carried out over the whole territory of the country with the only exception is for flight safety reasons (i.e, not for reasons of national security).

The treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information about military forces and activities of concern to them.

The 34 state parties to the Open Skies Treaty are: Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark (including Greenland), Estonia, Finland, France, the Republic of Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Kyrgyzstan has signed the treaty but has not yet ratified it.

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