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Russian aircraft to conduct observation flight over Estonia

A Russian military AN-30B aircraft in flight.
A Russian military AN-30B aircraft in flight. Source: (RIA Novosti/Scanpix)

A Russian aircraft will be conducting observation flights over Estonia from Thursday morning until noon in the framework of the Treaty on Open Skies.

The aircraft arrived in the Southern Estonian town of Tartu on Wednesday from a similar observation flight over Finland.

The observation flights will be carried out with an internationally certified An-30B aircraft equipped with digital sensors, spokespeople for the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces told BNS.

The aircraft will carry 17 observers from Russia and Belarus as well as four members of the Estonian Defence Forces, the latter of whom will monitor the observers' activity as well as adherence to the designated route. Members of the Estonian and Finnish Defence Forces carried out a similar observation flight over Russia at the end of May.

Russia has been carrying out observation flights in Estonian airspace since 2005. The Treaty on Open Skies is part of security- and confidence-building measures among member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the narrower purpose of which is to gather and make available information regarding military forces and activities. It was signed in Helsinki in 1992 and entered into force in 2002. To date, 34 OSCE countries, including all NATO member states, have acceded to the treaty.

Estonia joined the treaty in 2005, committing to receive up to four observation flights annually.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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