Russian inspectors this week will make observation flights over Latvia and Lithuania within the framework of the international treaty on Open Skies, the Head of the Russian National Center for Nuclear Risk Reduction, Sergey Ryzhkov, told the press, reported BNS.
The observation flights will be performed, using a Russian An-30B plane, from Monday to Saturday. He said that the flights will be made from the Riga and Siauliu airports. Representatives of Latvia and Lithuania will also be on the plane to control parameters of the flights and the equipment used for observation.
Ryzhkov reported that the flights will be made on routes that have been coordinated with the involved parties.
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992 and came into force in 2002, uniting 34 countries. The treaty allows observation flights over Canada, the US, Russia and the majority of European states.
The primary aim of the treaty is to ensure transparency in arms control and the settlement of crisis situations within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other international organizations.
The flights will take place with transponders turned on - in contrast to much Russian military aviation in the Baltic Sea region.
The Antonov-30B is a specialised cartographic plane dating from the late 1960s.
Nor will the observation flight be the only Russian military presence snooping around the region.
In recent days, the Latvian Armed Forces (NBS) have reported a spate of sightings of "various" Russian naval craft close to Latvia's sea border:
1. LV ekskl. ekonom. zonā nelielā attālumā no terit. jūras bruņotie spēki vakar identificēja vēl vairākus Krievijas BS kuģus.— NBS (@Latvijas_armija) July 20, 2015
2. 12.j.j. attālumā tika identificēts RU velkonis Moshcny, kurš Ropuch klases desanta kuģi Minsk.— NBS (@Latvijas_armija) July 20, 2015
2. 4.j.j. attālumā tika identificēta Tarantul klases korvete. 6,4.j.j. attāl.- velkonis Viktor Konecky, kurš buksēja Kilo klases zemūdeni.— NBS (@Latvijas_armija) July 19, 2015
Air Policing jets on 16 JUL in international airspace above the Baltic Sea near LV border identified RU AF 1X Il-20.— NBS (@Latvijas_armija) July 16, 2015