US, Allies Conduct Extraordinary Flight Over Ukraine Amid Kerch Row - Pentagon


"The timing of this flight is meant to reaffirm USA commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations", Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told CNN.

The U.S. military conducted an "extraordinary flight" over Ukraine Thursday to "reaffirm U.S. commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations" amid escalating tensions triggered by "provocative and threatening" Russian behavior, the Department of Defense said in a statement.

An unarmed U.S. Air Force plane with American and worldwide observers flew a special flight over Ukraine Thursday in a show of solidarity after Russia's Ukraine naval confrontation last month.

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 unsafe escalation in a pattern of increasingly provocative and threatening activity".

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As we reported earlier, the coast guard ships of the Russian Navy acted aggressively against the ships of the Ukrainian Navy, which have been carrying out a scheduled transition from Odesa port to Mariupol port in the Sea of Azov.

The Open Skies Treaty permits each of the 34 state parties the right to gather information about the military forces and activities of other state parties, but an extraordinary flight allows countries to conduct the flights on a bilateral basis.

Pahon said the plane had 17-member crew from the 55th Wing based at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

An OC-135B Open Skies aircraft takes flight on August 13, 2015, at Offutt AFB, Neb. "Our U.S. 6th Fleet is always prepared to respond where called", Cmdr.

'The United States seeks a better relationship with Russian Federation, but this can not happen while its unlawful and destabilizing actions continue in Ukraine and elsewhere'.