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US Surveillance Flight Makes Emergency Landing in Siberia

A US aircraft carrying out an observation flight over Russia was forced to make an emergency landing at Khabarovsk's airport due to an apparent landing gear malfunction.

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The aircraft took off from Ulan-Ude, a city to the east of Lake Baikal, and was heading to the Russian city of Yakutsk. However, one of the plane’s landing gears had apparently malfunctioned and failed to retract after takeoff, so the crew decided to make a forced landing in Khabarovsk, RIA Novosti reports.

The Khabarovsk airport administration also confirmed that an aircraft with a stuck landing gear made an unscheduled landing there.

"A foreign aircraft made a forced landing in Khabarovsk. All emergency ground services have arrived on site. The flight landed safely at 3 P.M. local time," airport officials said.

Earlier, Russian Defense Ministry Nuclear Risk Reduction Center officials announced that a US Boeing OC-135B aircraft would conduct an observation flight over Russian territory between July 25 and 30.

The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in March 1992 and became one of the major confidence-building measures in Europe after the Cold War. It entered into force on January 1, 2002; 34 states are currently party to the treaty, including Russia and most NATO members.

The treaty establishes an unarmed aerial surveillance program whereby signatory states may conduct flights over the entire territory of fellow participants.

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