Pentagon sends flight over Ukraine following Russian naval incident

Pentagon sends flight over Ukraine following Russian naval incident

"The timing of this flight is meant to reaffirm USA commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations", according to a US military statement.

This accord gives 34 signatory states the right to gather information about the military forces and activities of another one through military observation flights.

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

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". "[Russian President Vladamir] Putin, this is a war and this is not a joke and not an incident and not a crisis because your regular forces under the Russian flag attacked in the global war the Ukrainian military vessels". While normal Open Skies Treaty observation flights ought to be approved by all member states, including Russian Federation, extraordinary flights can be conducted on a bilateral basis, CNN reported.

Thursday's U.S. military flight comes a day after CNN reported the U.S. Navy is also preparing to sail a ship into the Black Sea in response to Russia's actions against Ukraine.

A Ukrainian serviceman stands on board a coast guard ship in the Sea of Azov port of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018.

An OC-135B Open Skies aircraft takes flight on August 13, 2015, at Offutt AFB, Neb. The guided-missile destroyer USS McCambell conducted the operation, the first in this area since the Cold War, Wednesday, challenging Russia near the headquarters of the Russian Navy's Pacific Fleet.

The USS McCampbell sailed near the Peter the Great Bay to "challenge Russia's excessive maritime claims" in what is known under worldwide norms as a "freedom of navigation operation".

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

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