Ukrainian air force to 'spy' on Benelux

9th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 August 2005, AMSTERDAM — When the Ukrainian Antonov reconnaissance plane begins photographing the Benelux territory on Thursday it will not be challenged by Dutch and Belgian fighter jets.

9 August 2005

AMSTERDAM — When the Ukrainian Antonov reconnaissance plane begins photographing the Benelux territory on Thursday it will not be challenged by Dutch and Belgian fighter jets.

The observation flight is taking place under the Open Skies Treaty that has been signed by 33 countries, including the US, Russia, Ukraine and the Benelux states (the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg).

The Treaty came into force in January 2002 and is designed to "enhance mutual understanding and confidence" by giving all participants a direct role in gathering information about military forces and activities in the other member states.

Open Skies aircraft have to be unarmed and may be equipped with photographic and filming equipment with day or night capacity.

The image quality should permit the observer to distinguish, for instance, between a tank and a truck, "thus allowing significant transparency of military forces and activities," the US State Department says.

The pictures and footage taken during Thursday's flight will be developed and checked at the Dutch air force base in Volkel. Once it has been confirmed the images comply with the Treaty regulations, they will  be handed back to the Ukrainian military.

Earlier this year, the Benelux countries carried out Open Skies observation flights over Russia and Ukraine.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news, Belgian news 

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