Russian aerospace force plane performed an observation flight on Wednesday over central Washington and the suburbs of the US capital city, including Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency, the US Congress and the White House, CNN said later in the day citing two anonymous sources informed about this flight made under the Open Skies Treaty.
But Wednesday's flyovers are taking place amid rising tensions between the US and Russian Federation over myriad issues, including a recent congressional move to impose a new round of sanctions on Russian Federation for its alleged interference in the 2016 USA presidential election, its involvement in the Syrian civil war and its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. According to the treaty guidelines, us airmen are aboard the Russian jet observing when an Open Skies flight occurs. On Wednesday, August 9, the Russian military flew a surveillance plane over the Pentagon as part of a routine flight allowed under an worldwide treaty.
Under the Open Skies Treaty, first signed in 1992, 34 countries - including the US and Russian Federation - allow member states to conduct unarmed observation flights in order to foster transparency about military activity and help monitor arms control and other agreements. The agency can only confirm specific locations once a mission is over.
The State Department said the United States and Russian Federation have done a combined 165 flights under the treaty over the past 15 years. "We put together the flight plan and with a few exceptions - safety-wise or weather-wise - they are allowed to fly over pretty much the entire territory".
U.S. Air Force personnel were on the plane, which flew at low altitude around 3,700 feet.
Thirty-four nations are signatories to the treaty.
He said the Russians had satellites they could use if they wanted to spy on British installations. The treaty aims to promote transparency about military activities.