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Arms control inspectors of Russia and Belarus to conduct an observation flight over the territory of Lithuania

2019.07.09
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On July 8-12 arms control inspectors of Russia and Belarus will be visiting Lithuania on the basis of the Open Skies Treaty. The experts will conduct a reconnaissance overflight over the territory of Lithuania in an AN-30B aircraft of the Russian Armed Forces with digital cameras. Representatives of the Lithuanian Armed forces will be on board together with the Russian ad Belarussian inspectors during the flight to ensure the agreed flight plan is followed and the observation equipment certified according to the Open Skies Treaty requirements are used.

 

Aerial reconnaissance flights on the basis of the Open Skies Treaty are conducted in order to verify 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 exceptions for flight safety reasons only.

 

The Open Skies Treaty is an important international arms control instrument for strengthening mutual trust, transparency and openness among state-parties in military area. The Treaty binds the participants to host reconnaissance flights in specifically equipped and certified aircraft over their territories and gives the right to conduct such flights.

 

The Open Skies Treaty of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was signed on 24 March 1992 in Helsinki at an OSCE Conference. The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania ratified the Treaty on 9 December 2004 and the first observation flight of the territory of Lithuania was conducted in October 2005. To date, 34 OSCE countries are parties to the Treaty.

 

This is the first overflight in Lithuania under the Open Skies Treaty this year. Last flight Lithuania hosted from Russian and Belarusian arms control inspectors took place in August 2017. Ukraine’s arms control inspectors are also planned to carry out a reconnaissance flight over Lithuania this year.

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