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In the midst of tensions between Moscow and Washington over Western sanctions, Russia has announced it will conduct an observation flight in U.S. airspace within the guidelines of the Treaty on Open Skies. The country’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Centre said Russian inspectors will be aboard the Russian Tupolev Tu-154M-LK-1 when it flies over U.S. territory.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryzhkov said that the Russian aircraft will be launched from the Travis Air Force Base in the U.S. state of California with observation flights to be conducted on Dec. 8 to 13, according to Sputnik. The flight aims to promote transparency in military activities. Ryzhov explained that U.S. specialists will also be aboard the aircraft to check the use of equipment and the Russian inspectors’ compliance with the Open Skies treaty.

Previous reports have indicated that the Treaty on Open Skies allows the unarmed observation flights over the territories of signatory countries. It was designed to boost mutual understanding and confidence in gathering information about military forces and other activities of concern to participants.

Russia has been ramping up its military flights in the Baltic Sea region in the past few days as its actions are being closely monitored by both the U.S. and NATO. A U.S. official told CNN that a dozen Russian military aircraft including bomber planes were detected in the Baltic Sea. NATO, Sweden and Finland military planes monitored the Russian flights.

Russian flights were conducted on the same route as several bombers and transport aircraft were spotted. Pentagon spokesperson Col. Steven Warren said that although large Russian flights have been seen in the past, the current contingent of planes was a “large incursion.”

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of pushing Russia into self-isolation. In a speech in Washington, Mr Obama said the crisis in Ukraine might have caught Mr Putin by surprise. The U.S. president claimed Mr Putin was turning to a “nationalist backward looking approach” in Russian policy as he scares nearby countries and damage his country’s economy.

Following Mr Obama’s strong statements against the Russian president, Mr Putin hit back in a speech to the Kremlin and said the sanctions imposed by the West are not only “harmful” to Russia but to the whole world as well. He claimed the West was trying to “hold back the growing strength” of Russia.