Russians to check deployment of troops in Spain and Portugal

A team of Russian inspectors plans to make monitoring flights over the territories of Portugal and Spain on Dec. 10-15 by way of implementing the Open Skies Agreement.

"These will be the 37th and 38th monitoring flights of Russian representatives over territories of member-states of the agreement in 2012," a newsletter of the Defense Ministry press service received by Interfax-AVN says.

Flights on the Tupolev Tu-154M Lk-1 aircraft equipped with monitoring systems will be made from Lisbon airport along a route agreed in advance to a maximum range of 3,000 kilometers. In addition to Russian inspectors, it will carry experts from the countries under inspection.

The Open Skies Agreement was signed in 1992 and ratified by all its 34 signatory-countries in 1995. The main purpose of the agreement is to promote monitoring of the fulfillment of existing and future agreements in arms control and to expand the opportunities to prevent and settle crises in the framework of OSCE. Inspection flights are made to verify reported data on armaments and troop deployment.

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