Trump To Allow Russian Spy Planes To Surveil United States

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The U.S. State Department last week certified a Russian aircraft for a surveillance flight under the Open Skies Treaty.

One week after declining to allow a Russian aircraft to make a surveillance flight over the United States, the State Department has reversed course and will permit the flight to take place, according to CNN.

> Under the [Open Skies Treaty], the member states are permitted to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over one another's territories. It "is designed 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," according to the State Department.

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> In early September, experts from a number of the member states gathered in Russia for the certification event for Russia's Tu-214 Open Skies aircraft, a State Department official told CNN. The US declined to certify the aircraft at the time, citing ongoing discussions in Washington, according to the official.

But last Tuesday, the decision was made to permit the flight and "the United States informed all States Parties via formal treaty mechanisms that we will approve the certification of the Russian aircraft," the State Department official told CNN.

> A date has not been set for the Russian flight, and neither country has any flights scheduled due to an "impasse at the Open Skies Consultative Commission that continues to delay the commencement of treaty flights in 2018," according to the State Department official, who did not elaborate on the reasons for the impasse. The US has said Russia is in violation of the Open Skies Treaty because they are not allowing flights over Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave between Lithuania and Poland where Moscow has a significant military footprint.

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