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U.S., Italian Inspectors to Fly Over Russia

Military inspectors from the United States and Italy will carry out observation flights over Russian territory this week under the international Open Skies Treaty, the Defense Ministry said Monday.

The experts will fly over Russia on May 20-24 on board an Italian Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft, and will use surveillance equipment certified internationally and approved by the Russian side, the ministry said.

Under the treaty, each aircraft flying under the Open Skies program is fitted with a sensor suite including optical panoramic and framing cameras, video cameras with real-time display, thermal infrared imaging sensors and imaging radar.

The Open Skies Treaty, which entered into force on January 1, 2002, establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 34 member states to promote openness and the transparency of military forces and activities. Russia ratified the deal in May 2001.

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