Russia to convert "open sky" planes into scouts

Two Russian Tu-214ON aircraft are planned to be used for reconnaissance purposes after Russia's final withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty, RIA Novosti reports, citing two military and diplomatic sources. Until the end of the procedure, the Tu-214ON will remain in reserve.

One of the sources added that the aircraft will also be used to objectively monitor the results of tests of various weapons and assess the effectiveness of exercises. According to the second source, in order to use the aircraft as scouts, they will need to be upgraded. The most modern radio-electronic and radio-technical reconnaissance equipment can be added to both sides. A preliminary decision on this matter has been made, the source added.

On Friday, January 15, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced Russia's intention to leave the Open Skies Treaty-it allows the military of 33 countries to inspect each other's territory from the air. This decision was a reaction to the withdrawal of the United States from the agreement, as well as problems with agreeing on conditions for further stay in the treaty. Russia, however, may yet reconsider its decision.

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