Moscow Allows Ukraine's Surveillance Flight to Disprove Troop Buildup
Russia's Defense Ministry has given permission for a surveillance flight by Ukraine over Russian territory near the border between the countries.
Russia has permitted the flight in order to demonstrate that any threat of military operations on the part of the Russian Armed Forces is absent, after Kiev had claimed Moscow was building up its military presence there.
Russian deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said that Ukraine had issued an appeal to the Russian Defense Ministry, March 11, to organize a so-called emergency surveillance flight over the Russian territory in the framework of the Treaty on Open Skies, Itar-Tass reports.
"It is the first time a mission of this kind has been requested in the format of the Treaty on Open Skies since the moment of its signing in 1992," Antonov said. "Although we do not have any obligations on hosting the Ukrainian jet, we took a decision to permit a group of observers to effectuate this flight."
"We hope our neighbors will see the Russian Armed Forces are not conducting any activity on Ukraine's border that might jeopardize its security," he said.
Ukraine's Secretary of National Security and Defense Council Andriy Parubiy said that he had every reason to believe that Russian forces along Ukraine's southern and eastern borders will invade, KyivPost reports.
"Ukraine now faces the threat of a full-scale invasion," Parubiy said at a press conference on Wednesday claiming that Russia had deployed more than 80,000 troops, up to 270 tanks and 140 combat planes close to the border.