A Russian reconnaissance aircraft will fly over parts of the United States this week as part of the Treaty on Open Skies entered into in the early 1990s.
The Russian new agency TASS reported the flights will be conducted from Aug. 11 – 19 and will be based out of Great Falls, Montana.
“The Russian aircraft will perform its flight along the agreed route. US experts will stay aboard the Tu-154MLK-1 aircraft to control the use of observation equipment,” a statement from Russia’s defense ministry says, according to TASS.
Fox News reported that the Russian observation aircraft can fly anywhere in a 3,000 mile radius from Great Falls, which encompasses the entire continental U.S.
“The United States has conducted three treaty missions over Russia so far in 2019,” Michael said.
“Per treaty procedures, the United States will inspect the aircraft and U.S. observers will be on board the Russian aircraft to monitor all phases of the observation flight over U.S. territory, to ensure Treaty compliance.”
The flights in Russia originated out of the Kubinka airfield just outside of Moscow.
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in Helsinki, Finland in March 1992 and went into force on Jan. 1, 2002.
There are 34 signatory nations including most of the NATO countries, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Canada and Norway.
Sweden, Finland and Ukraine are among other nations which are part of the treaty.
The flight path took it near Naval Station Great Lakes in Chicago’s northern suburbs.
“It’s the Navy’s largest training installation and home to the Navy’s only Boot Camp,” according to WGN-TV.
The news outlet added, “In April, a different Russian spy plane reportedly flew over two of America’s top nuclear laboratories and other strategic sites.”
President Dwight Eisenhower first suggested an “Open Skies” plan in 1955 during a summit in Geneva with representatives from France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union.
“It called for the United States and the Soviet Union to exchange maps indicating the exact location of every military installation in their respective nations,” according to History.com.
“With these maps in hand, each nation would then be allowed to conduct aerial surveillance of the installations in order to assure that the other nations were in compliance with any arms control agreements that might be reached.”
Then-Soviet Secretary General Nikita Khrushchev rejected the idea, saying Eisenhower’s plan was nothing more than an “espionage plot.”
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