published: 23.10.2013, 13:35 | updated: 23.10.2013 13:41:44
Pardubice - A special Russian Antonov An-30B aircraft today landed at Pardubice airport before its observation mission in the Czech Republic that will take place on Thursday or Friday, Vladimir Supsak, from the Czech Defence Ministry, told CTK.
The Russian inspection team will take pictures of locations of strategic importance on Czech territory within the Open Skies programme of armament monitoring.
The Czech Republic is obliged to accept four observation missions a year and it is allowed to go on four such missions abroad every year, Supsak said.
"Only the Russians asked for a check this year. They have been making these inspection flights once a year since 2004, except for 2009 when they were here twice," he said about the Russian observation missions.
The Russian inspection team has 17 members, including crew members, technicians and inspectors.
During a crash landing of the Russian Antonov six of 23 people aboard the plane got injured within the observation mission last year, mostly suffering burns. The front leg of the plane's undercarriage probably broke, it left the runway and went on fire. The Czech Defence Ministry concluded that a piloting failure and non-observance of landing parameters caused the accident.
Supsak said an inspection flight takes precedence over regular commercial flights and it may enter prohibited airspace.
The Treaty on Open Skies, effective since 2002, has been joined by 34 countries.
Along with Spain, the Czech Republic has been regularly making inspection flights in Ukraine. In cooperation with the United States, the Czechs have been flying over Russian and Belarusian territory since 2007.
"The Czech Republic has no observation aircraft of its own. Our latest inspection, together with the USA, was held in the Russian Federation in the spring. We are planning an inspection together with Sweden and Ukraine," Supsak said.
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