Russian Surveillance Plane Flies Low Over Washington, Creating Stir

Marie Harrington
August 12, 2017

CNN and The Washington Post reported Wednesday that a Russian surveillance plane cruised through secure airspace in D.C. and later over New Jersey as part of a longstanding diplomatic treaty. It also passed by Joint Base Andrews, home to Air Force One.

It also flew near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, Politico reported.

The Russian jet took the second flight in the afternoon and flew over Bedminster, New Jersey, where President Donald Trump is on a working vacation. The jet passed over the Trump National Golf Course in the state, where he is now residing.

Flight intensity figures published on the ministry's website showed that a total of 12 spy planes flew missions along the Russian borders over the stated period of time.

The flight was part of the Treaty on Open Skies, which allows military aircraft from the United States and Russian Federation and other nations to fly aerial observation flights to observe military sites of the 34 signatory nations. The agency can only confirm specific locations once a mission is over.

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The treaty - which was introduced after the Cold War allows 34 states to conduct unarmed flights over other countries.

The Russians are required to give a 72-hour notice of the mission and must have American personnel on board as observers.

"Any violation of the Russian airspace was prevented", the ministry said. After each flight, the host nation gets a copy of any imagery taken by the observation aircraft. He told the House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities previous year that he would "love" to deny future Russian flights over the United States through Open Skies. The Washington, DC area is not excluded from this requirement.

"The treaty is created to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information through aerial imaging on military forces and activities of concern to them", the State Department said, per CNN.

Besides Russia and the United States, 32 other nations have signed the treaty, which is aimed at fostering transparency about military activity, reducing mistrust and misunderstandings, and facilitating the monitoring of arms control agreements.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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