The Russian military will perform an observation flight over the United States’ territory under the Treaty on Open Skies, the Russian Defense Ministry’s daily Krasnaya Zvezda reported on Friday.
"The observation flight over the US will be conducted on September 22-30 from the Open Skies Treaty airfield of Great Falls. The flight’s maximum range will be 5,130 km," the report reads. The Russian aircraft will perform its flight along the agreed route. US experts will stay aboard [the Tu-154MLK-1] and control the use of observation equipment and compliance with the treaty, TASS reports.
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in Helsinki on March 24, 1992, by the member-states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and went into force on January 1, 2002. The accord includes 34 countries, among them being most NATO members, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sweden and Finland. Russia ratified the Treaty on May 26, 2001. The purpose of the deal is to help build confidence between countries by improving the mechanisms of controlling military activities and compliance with arms control agreements.