MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) – A surveillance plane carrying US and British military personnel is stranded in southern Siberia because it has not paid airport servicing fees, the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday.
The US plane, reportedly making a routine flight over Russia under the international Open Skies treaty, was forced down in Chita early on Thursday morning because of heavy fog.
“After the American side have settled financial questions with the airport administration about payment for ground and airport services, the joint US and British mission can continue its flight,” Defense Ministry official Sergei Ryzhkov told journalists.
There are 30 military personnel from Britain and the United States on the Boeing aircraft, according to Russian media reports.
The Open Skies Treaty, which entered into force on January 1, 2002, allows each signatory a quota of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of the 34 member states, including Russia, to promote openness and transparency in military affairs.
Foreign observation planes flying over Russia have the right to land at only two airports in the country: one in Moscow Region, and one outside the Siberian city of Ulan Ude