Pentagon reveals United States observation flight over Ukraine

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite

The US Air Force OC-135 observation plane was flown near Crimea, the Ukrainian region seized by Russian Federation in 2014, the Pentagon said. But the treaty also permits "extraordinary", or extra, flights if two participating members agree.

The Open Skies Treaty is aimed at promoting military transparency through reciprocal, unarmed observation flights over each of the 34 signatory countries' terrains.

Fitted with high-tech observation equipment, the plane was tasked with gathering information about the military forces and activities of Russian Federation.

Normally these flights are arranged well in advance.

The last "extraordinary" observation flight over Ukraine was in 2014 in response to Russia's military intervention in Crimea. In this case, Ukraine requested a flight and the U.S. agreed to conduct it over an uncontested portion of Ukraine territory.

"Nobody knows tomorrow where Putin [will] make a decision to protect Russian interests", he said, adding that Ukraine needs military and technical upgrades - "including the supply the lethal weapons to help us to protect our country" from a possible ground operation.

On Wednesday the US Navy sent its USS McCampbell, a guided missile destroyer, through the Sea of Japan, "in the vicinity of Peter the Great Bay", the Navy said.

Ukraine's defense ministry warned Russian Federation on Friday that it will soon send navy ships through the Kerch Strait where Russian Federation fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels two weeks ago.

The Pentagon condemned Russia's actions, adding the timing of the flight was intended "to reaffirm USA commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations" and that the U.S.is "resolute" in its support of the security of European nations. He said the flight was requested by the arms control directorate of the Ukrainian General Staff.

The military added that "Russia's unprovoked attack" on Ukrainian ships near the Kerch Strait on November 25 is "a risky escalation in a pattern of increasingly provocative and threatening activity".

Russia's State Duma Deputy Dmytro Belik commented on the claim of Minister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak that the Ukrainian Navy would continue using the Kerch Strait, RT reports.

Pahon said the observation plane left a base near Washington on November 30 and flew in Ukrainian airspace after a stop in Germany.

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