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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Almaty: Plane Not Spying in Russia

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Monday that Moscow should stop griping about a U.S. research plane operating in Kazakhstan because it was helping to assess the damage caused by secret Soviet-era nuclear tests and not spying on Russia.

"The plane was invited by us specifically to assess how much land had been spoiled by the activity of the former Semipalatinsk nuclear testing ground," Interfax quoted Nazarbayev as telling reporters in the Kazakh capital, Almaty.

"We would like to determine the degree of the catastrophe which has hit Kazakhstan through nuclear tests," he said.

Kazakhstan has stopped nuclear tests at Semipalatinsk and shipped to Russia the nuclear arms it had inherited from the Soviet Union.

Last week, Russia's Foreign Ministry issued an angry statement saying the Orion P-3 scientific aircraft had spy equipment on board.