US, Canada to Hold Observation Flight Over Russia Under Open Skies Treaty

Boeing OC-135B Open Skies


Canadian, US military experts will fly over the territory of Russia under the Treaty on Open Skies on November 2-6, head of Russia’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center Sergei Ryzhkov has announced.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Russian Defense Ministry noted that C-130J is not equipped to carry on board and use any weapons.

“During the November 2-6 period, in compliance with the Open Skies Treaty, a joint mission of the United States and Canada is planning to perform an observation flight over the Russian territory on a Canadian C-130J observation aircraft,” Ryzhkov said in a statement.

In the course of the observation mission, Russian specialists on board the aircraft will monitor compliance with the agreed parameters of the flight and the use of agreed observation equipment, according to the statement.

The Treaty on Open Skies establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants.

It was signed in March 1992 and became one of the major confidence-building measures in Europe after the Cold War. It entered into force on January 1, 2002, and currently has 34 States Parties, including Russia and the majority of the NATO countries.

Moscow ratified the Treaty on Open Skies on May 26, 2001.

The treaty allows its participants to openly gather information on each other’s military forces and activities.

US Lacks Sufficient Intelligence Capabilities to Track Russia – Commander

Russian Air Force strikes Islamic State positions in Syria


The United States does not have sufficient intelligence capabilities to keep track Russian military activities, Commanding General of US Army Europe General Ben Hodges said.

    Hodges added that he has “personally” been surprised by “every snap exercise” Russia has conducted, and was also surprised by Russia’s decision to engage in airstrikes in Syria.

“The fact is, there is not enough intelligence capacity to do all that we do…we do not have the ability to see and track what they [Russians] are doing the way we used to,” Hodges said at a Tuesday conference hosted by Defense One.

Washington Ready to Arrange US-Russia Flight Safety Mechanisms in Syria

Russian military aircraft at Syria's Hmeimim airfield


Washington is ready to agree on terms of the deconfliction mechanisms to ensure the safety of US and Russian aircraft operating in Syria, US State Secretary John Kerry said.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said it had sent proposals on the text of a draft agreement to the Pentagon concerning flight safety during combat missions over Syria. Moreover, the Russian Defense Ministry expressed readiness to hold a videoconference with US authorities on Wednesday.

“We are prepared to make arrangements, so that our airplanes are not in danger in the sky. So pilots are not at risk. And we are not creating an international crisis,” Kerry said late on Tuesday at the meeting with the Harvard University students.

The US and Russian authorities have already held two discussions about deconflicting mechanisms in Syria.

The US-led international coalition has been conducting airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria since 2014.

Russia’s Sukhoi Su-25, Su-24M and Su-34 attack aircraft, with the support of Su-30 jets, commenced precision airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria on September 30, following a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Russian arms exporter set to comply with delivery schedule despite US sanctions

The US suspects blacklisted companies of conducting activities that run counter to the Iran, North Korea and Syria Non-Proliferation Act

NIZHNY TAGIL, September 9. /TASS/. Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport is set to comply with the plan of weaponry deliveries this year, despite US sanctions, Rosoboronexport Deputy Head Sergei Goreslavsky said on Wednesday.

“There are no doubts now that we’ll fulfil the plan of deliveries for this year and we’re complying with the schedule,” he said.

The US sanctions “have added adrenalin to the activity of Rosoboronexport,” Goreslavsky said.

It was reported in early September that the US authorities had decided to impose sanctions against some Russian companies, including Rosoboronexport.

The US suspects blacklisted companies of conducting activities that run counter to the Iran, North Korea and Syria Non-Proliferation Act.

US Coast Guard, Russian Border Guard Preparing for Joint Exercises in Fall

US Coast Guard ships


The US and Russia will hold joint drills in the fall, according to the US Department of State.

ANCHORAGE (Sputnik) — The US Coast Guard and Russia’s Border Guard will both participate in international exercises this fall, US State Department Representative for the Arctic Admiral Robert Papp told Sputnik on Monday.”We have a [Arctic] Search and Rescue Agreement that was signed in 2011, and we are now going to exercise that. For instance, the United States Coast Guard is working with the Russia Border Guard, and they will also participate in an exercise with the other six Arctic countries sometime this fall,” Papp said on the sidelines of an international Arctic conference in Anchorage, Alaska.

Papp, who was nominated to represent the United States during its chairmanship of the Arctic Council, noted that the two countries continue to cooperate on the Arctic issues well despite the current downturn in the relations.

“The other [joint work under Arctic Council program] is to take a look at how we respond to marine casualties, environmental problems in the Arctic, and we hope to have an exercise there, where all of us will cooperate together,” Papp said. “I think the more we work together, the more we understand each other. The more we listen to each other the better off all of us will be.”

The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum comprised of all eight Arctic nations and 11 observer nations with interests in the region.

US Looks Forward to Continue Arctic Cooperation With Russia

The United States seeks to continue cooperation with Russia on Arctic issues, Admiral Robert Papp told Sputnik following talks with Russia’s Ambassador to Washington Sergei Kislyak and senior Arctic official Vladimir Barbin.

“I spoke with both of them [Kislyak and Barbin], telling them that I look forward to our continued cooperation together,” Papp said.

He noted that he has worked with the Russian ambassador on a number of issues, and they have “a good working relationship.”

“I also spoke with Vladimir Barbin, Russia’s senior Arctic official. Mr. Barbin is a very professional diligent worker who has impressed me with his level of detail and his review of our Arctic Chairmanship program,” Papp said.

Some 20 countries and hundreds of policy makers, diplomats and scientists took part in the Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience (GLACIER) conference in Anchorage, Alaska on August 30-31.

The participants discussed climate change, adaptation planning, strengthening coordination in Arctic affairs, and other urgent issues the Arctic faces today.

Joint US, Italian Mission Performing Observation Flight Over Russia

Boeing OC-135B Open Skies aircraft


The head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s National Center for Nuclear Risk Reduction said that the representatives of the United States and Italy would perform the observation flights over Russia.

  The representatives of the United States and Italy will perform the observation flights over Russia from August 17 to 22, under the international Treaty on Open Skies, said Sergey Ryzhkov, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s National Center for Nuclear Risk Reduction.

“From 17 to 22 of August, in the framework of the international Open Skies Treaty, a joint mission of the United States and Italy will perform an observation flight over the territory of the Russian Federation on the American observation aircraft OC-135B, from the airport at Novosibirsk [Tolmachevo],” Ryzhkov said.

The OC-135B Open Skies United States Air Force observation aircraft belongs to a class of aircraft not intended for the use of weapons. The aircraft and its equipment installed for the observations, such as the aerial cameras, have passed the international certification in which the Russian specialists participated. Such certification eliminates the possibility of using technical means not stipulated by the Treaty.The Open Skies Treaty was signed in March 1992 and became one of the major confidence-building measures in Europe after the Cold War. It entered into force on January 1, 2002, and currently has 34 States Parties, including the majority of the NATO countries, as well as Russia, and neutral countries such as Sweden and Finland.

The treaty allows participating countries to openly gather information on the each other’s military forces and activities. The flights of Russia and NATO countries are usually held on a reciprocal basis.

United States to receive new batch of Russian RD-181


The American satellite and rocket builder Orbital ATK Corporation is set to receive a second shipment of Russian-made RD-181 rocket engines for its Antares launcher in late fall.

“Now when the first shipment has already come in and the second is expected later in autumn, the Antares is strictly keeping up with its schedule of flight resuming in the beginning of 2016,” Scott Lehr, a senior company representative told RIA Novosti.

The Russian engines will considerably increase the lift capacity of the launcher.

US can not stop buying Russian rocket engines


US can not stop buying Russian rocket engines for the next 10-15 years, the head of the Department of Communication and Information of the state corporation “Rostec” Vasily Brovko told reporters on Wednesday, July 22.

“Everyone understands that there are prospects to renounce Russian rocket engines for 10-15 years,” Brovko said.

He noted that the volume of exports to the US fell slightly only due to the reduction of small arms of concern “Kalashnikov”.

French Mistral Ships Unlikely to End Up in US Ports – Defense Minister

The Mistral-class helicopter carrier Vladivostok is seen at the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire

The United States has not given any indication they would purchase the Mistral warships from France, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a speech to the US German Marshall Fund.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In November 2014, France cancelled a $1.5 billion contract with Russia to deliver two Mistral aircraft carriers. The contract was terminated as a result of political pressure related to allegations of Moscow interference in the Ukraine conflict — claims delied by Russia.

“[Defense Secretary] Ashton Carter did not say he wanted to buy them earlier when I saw him,” Le Drian said on Monday.

Le Drian explained that the French government was encouraged to end the Mistral deal during an October 2014 visit to Washington.

Being asked if the Mistral ships could end up in US ports, Le Drian joked, “If we can agree on a price, why not?”

Le Drian described the decision to cancel the contract with Russia as “courageous” and a “strategic choice.”

“Now nobody is talking about the Mistral, but it is still costing us 1.2 billion euros [$1.3 billion] in the French economic situation which is difficult.”

A final agreement on French compensation to Russia for the termination of the Mistral contracts is still pending. Moscow has insisted on approximately $1.3 billion in compensation.

Le Drian visited Washington, DC on Monday where he met with his counterpart in the US Department of Defense.


Russian Defense Ministry asks Pentagon for explanations over Dempsey’s statements

loyment of cruise and ballistic missiles in Europe and Asia would be tantamount to the United States’ walkout from the INF treaty

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov

MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry has requested explanations from the Pentagon over recent statements by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, to the effect the United States might deploy in Europe and Asia its cruise and ballistic missiles that might be targeted against Russia, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.

“The Russian Defense Ministry is conducting scrupulous analysis of information regarding compliance with the INF treaty coming from different sources. Certainly, we took note of these publications in the Western press. In order to obtain official reaction from the American side we have dispatched a request through military-diplomatic channels for explanations of the Pentagon’s positions regarding statements reportedly made by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.

According to last week’s reports by Associated Press quoting unclassified extracts from a report by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey the deployment in Europe or Asia of ground-based missiles targeted at Russia’s nuclear potential was one of the likely responses to Russia’s alleged failure to fully comply with the INF treaty of 1987.

Moscow has repeatedly dismissed all US charges it had breached the terms of the INF treaty.

The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s non-proliferation and arms control department, Mikhail Ulyanov, described Washington’s claims as groundless.

“The United States refuses to provide facts to back up the charges. Or, which is more likely, it is unable to do that. One has the impression that the real aim is to discredit Russia and to make it look like a state that violates its international obligations,” Ulyanov said.