Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Pentagon reveals United States observation flight over Ukraine

Pentagon reveals United States observation flight over Ukraine

But the treaty permits "extraordinary", or unscheduled, flights if two participating members agree.

"Today, the United States and Allies conducted an extraordinary flight under the Open Skies Treaty".

Ukraine responded by introducing martial law for 30 days, a measure Kiev did not take even after Crimea's annexation and amid large-scale fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists in 2014-2015.

"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. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss future ship movements.

Ukraine is accusing Russian Federation of keeping up its blockade of the Kerch Strait that links the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov, warning that it will soon send more navy ships through the strait.

A Ukrainian serviceman stands on board a coast guard ship in the Sea of Azov port of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. Since then, Washington has sought to show its support for Ukraine while condemning Russian actions.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak told reporters on Friday that his country intends to send naval ships through the Kerch Strait soon, saying that "otherwise Russian Federation will fully occupy the Sea of Azov".

US, Canadian, German, French, United Kingdom, Romanian and Ukrainian observers were aboard the aircraft during the observation flight.

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.

"The timing of this flight is meant to reaffirm USA commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations", the Pentagon said.

The "extraordinary" nature of this flyover is in the fact that it was requested by the arms control directorate of the General Staff of Ukraine's armed forces.

Pahon said the plane had 17-member crew from the 55th Wing based at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. It flew from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to Ramstein air base in Germany on November 30 and flew over Ukraine on Thursday, he said.

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