If you look up into the skies this week, you may spot a Russian aircraft hovering over Canadian military infrastructure.
Don't worry, we're not being attacked -- the Canadian government actually knows this is happening.
The inspection flight is part of a little known annual exercise allowed under the Open Skies treaty -- a treaty signed two years after the fall of the Berlin wall to shore confidence among the NATO and Warsaw Pact signatories.
According to the National Post, Russia is the only country -- out of the 34 --that has flown over Canada under the treaty. Russian planes have flown over our country routinely since 2004, while Canada has conducted more than 30 flyovers over Russian soil in the past 8 years.
While the treaty gives Canada the explicit right to send at least two flight monitors and one interpreter aboard the unarmed Russian aircraft, some are concerned that the recent Russian spy scandal and issues over arctic sovereignty make this year's flyover somewhat risky.
Houchang Hassan-Yari, a Royal Military College of Canada political science professor, said Ottawa should be vigilant when Russia's Tupolev aircraft flies over Canada some time between Tuesday and Thursday.
"There is a treaty, but we have to be very, very, very cautious not to forget past espionage cases," Hassan-Yari told the Post.
"We should not forget that the relationship between Russia and Canada was not necessarily friendly even 20 years ago, so who knows what will happen in the next 20 years."
The Post notes that the Russians are expected to inspect our military infrastructure, industrial complexes, cities and transportation hubs.
So yes, technically, the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming.
The relationship between Russia and another member of the Open Skies treaty, the United States, is currently being questioned:
Members of the Open Skies treaty:
The 34 States Parties to the Open Skies Treaty are: Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, and United States.
Kyrgyzstan has signed but not yet ratified.
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