Vladimir Putin
Russia will develop nuclear weapons, but not use it Picture: Russian President Vladimir PutinReuters

Russia will carry out an observation flight over Turkey this week, starting on Monday, even as relations between the two countries remain frigid since the downing of the Russian fighter jet last month.

The surveillance flight will be conducted on a Russian plane under the Open Skies Treaty, the Russian defence ministry said through its social media accounts. 

"As part of implementation of the international Open Skies Treaty, a Russian group of inspectors plans to conduct a surveillance flight on board a Russian An-30B aircraft over the territory of the Turkish Republic," a Russian defence ministry official was quoted saying by Tass news agency. 

The Russian plane will fly about 1,500 km over Turkey between 14 December and 18 December, the official said. 

"This event is being implemented in order to promote greater openness and transparency in military activities of the states parties to the treaty, as well as the consolidation of security through the strengthening of confidence-building measures," the Russian defence ministry said on Facebook. 

Turkish specialists will also be on board the surveillance flight. The Open Skies Treaty gives rights to member states of "gathering information about military forces and activities of concern to them". 

The move comes weeks after a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet was shot down by Turkish jets near the border with Syria after the pilot reportedly ignored warnings that it had violated Turkey's airspace. 

Russia has, however, maintained that the jet was in Syrian airspace. 

One Russian pilot was killed in the downing, while the second pilot was rescued by Syrian forces after he fell into rebel territory. 

Following the incident, Russia asked its citizens to not visit Turkey and also banned several Turkish food imports. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for restoring ties between Turkey and Russia. 

"An incident that occurred due to the mistake of a pilot, who did not listen to the warnings, should not affect the relations of two nations, particularly not strategic relations. The effect of the incident on bilateral relations really saddens us," Erdogan said on Monday, according to Hurriyet Daily News

Tensions agains spiked on Sunday after a Russian warship fired a warning shot at a Turkish boat in the Aegean Sea, with Russia claiming that the two vessels were on a collision course. 

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