In Show of Support, US Conducts Ukraine Fly-Over

PENTAGON The U.S. and its allies flew a military aircraft over Ukraine Thursday as a show of support after Russia attacked Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea last month.

"A U.S. Air Force OC-135 observation plane flew over Ukraine today with U.S., Canadian, German, French, United Kingdom, Romanian and Ukrainian observers aboard," Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told VOA.

"The timing of this flight is intended to reaffirm U.S. commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations," according to a U.S. military statement.

Members of the Ukrainian parliament react during a session after voting on a proposal to terminate a treaty with Russia, in Kyiv, Ukraine Dec. 6, 2018.

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

The Arms Control Directorate of the Ukrainian General Staff requested the flight under the Open Skies Treaty, which allows unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of participating states.

The treaty "promotes openness and transparency in military activities through reciprocal, unarmed observation flights," Pahon said.

The Kerch Strait is the only passage to and from the Black Sea and the inland Sea of Azov, which is jointly controlled by Russia and Ukraine.

U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker tells VOA's Ukraine service that Russia needs to release the Ukrainian sailors taken captive in the Kerch Strait in late November by Christmas or "before the new year."

The Pentagon has reportedly asked the State Department to inform Turkey that it planned to send a warship to the Black Sea.

The United States is required to notify Turkey under a treaty that governs the passage of military vessels from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea.

Source: Voice of America