A Russian military aircraft made an observation flight over Estonia under the Treaty on Open Skies this week, spokespeople for the General Staff in Tallinn said.
The flight was performed on Wednesday morning with an internationally certified Antonov An-30B aircraft equipped with a vertical optical panoramic photo camera. The film will be developed in Russia in the presence of the Estonian defense attache and Estonia will obtain a copy of it, informs BNS.
The plane's crew was made up of 14 airmen and observers and there were also seven members of the Estonian defense forces on board to look at the activities of the monitors and see to it that the agreed route is observed. The length of the route was 795 kilometers, compared with a maximum of 800 kilometers permitted by the international agreement.
Russia also performed observation flights in Estonia's air space in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
The Treaty on Open Skies is part of the security and confidence building measures between the member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the narrower purpose of which is to gather and make available information about military forces and facilities.
The treaty was signed in Helsinki in 1992 and it stepped into force in 2002. By now 33 countries have acceded to it, including all NATO member states. Estonia joined in 2005 and has undertaken the obligation to permit up to four observation flights by other parties to the treaty above its territory annually.