Russian Plane Surveys Washington as Part of Open Skies Treaty

An aerial view of the Pentagon just over the river from Washington

The Russian flights, first reported by CNN, were conducted under the Open Skies Treaty, signed by 34 countries, including the United States and Russia.

As part of the Treaty on Open Skies, an global program aimed at transparency between allies, a Russian plane scanned much of Washington D.C., including the White House, Capitol, and Pentagon, yesterday, alongside American representatives.

United States Air Force personnel were on the flight and the aircraft is capable of a variety of intelligence gathering, one of the people said.

CNN reported that a jet flew at a low altitude over downtown Washington, buzzing the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

A Russian surveillance plane soared through secure airspace over Washington on Wednesday, presumably collecting intelligence as it traveled near the Pentagon, the Capitol and other government buildings, two US officials said.

The same official who confirmed the flight said such a mission was fairly routine.

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In addition to military and government buildings, Russian Federation took a flight over President Donald Trump's golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., where he is now on vacation.

The web site concludes: 'Open Skies is one of the most wide-ranging global arms control efforts to date to promote openness and transparency in military forces and activities'.

The U.S. Capitol Police issued an alert of the Washington overfly between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

"The Treaty allows participating states to observe the entire territory of the other states parties". "This flight will be monitored by the U.S. Capitol Police Command Center and other federal government agencies".

"Any violation of the Russian airspace was prevented", the ministry said. In the past, Russian Federation has been accused of unfairly restricting some of its territory from view, in particular, over Chechnya or within 10 kilometers of its border with Georgia, according to the Arms Control Center. After each flight, the host nation gets a copy of any imagery taken by the observation aircraft.

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