In Show of Support, US Conducts Ukraine Fly-Over

The Ukrainian command ship Donbass is seen moored as workers build new terminal at the Port of Mariupol on the Azov Sea eastern Ukraine on Dec. 2 2018

Fitted with high-tech observation equipment, the plane was tasked with gathering information about the military forces and activities of Russian Federation. In this case, Ukraine requested a flight and the USA agreed to conduct it over an uncontested portion of Ukraine territory.

Normally these flights are scheduled well in advance.

"Nobody knows tomorrow where Putin [will] make a decision to protect Russian interests", he said, adding that Ukraine needs military and technical upgrades - "including the supply the lethal weapons to help us to protect our country" from a possible ground operation.

The Boeing OC-135 aircraft flew near Russian Federation in an operation permissible under the Treaty on Open Skies, a programme of unarmed surveillance flights involving 34 countries.

On Tuesday, a senior U.S. State Department official warned that Moscow must release the Ukrainian sailors or face growing consequences.

Under the treaty, countries that do not have a coastline on the Black Sea must notify Turkey at least 15 days prior to transiting, according to CNN.

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On November 25, Russian Federation and Ukraine had a naval clash near Kerch Strait.

U.S. Navy ships routinely sail in and out of the Black Sea, and under global rules are only allowed to stay in the waters for 21 days.

The Pentagon said the Ukrainian military had requested the flight, which was on an OC-135 surveillance plane and had observers from the US, Canada, Germany, France, Britain, Romania and Ukraine aboard.

"The timing of this flight is meant to reaffirm U.S. commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations", the Pentagon said in a statement.

The "extraordinary" nature of this flyover is in the fact that it was requested by the arms control directorate of the General Staff of Ukraine's armed forces.

The United States has begun making preparations to sail a warship into the Black Sea amid Russia-Ukraine tensions, CNN has reported. It flew from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to Ramstein air base in Germany on November 30 and flew over Ukraine on Thursday, he said.

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