The Russian spy plane, Tupolev Tu-154M, flew near the golf resort at 4,000 feet, and then climbed to 5,000 feet before flying into NY airspace, two US defense officials told Fox News.
According to the Open Skies Treaty of 2002, 32 countries are aloud to fly, unarmed over the participating countries territories. The U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) noted that unclassified imagery gathered in March 2014 during a German-U.S. flight over Russia's border with Ukraine helped prove Russian military activities in eastern Ukraine despite Russian denials.
According to CNN and Politico, it was a regular observation flight under the Open Skies Treaty.
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Far from a surprise though, the Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-154 overflight is agreed thanks to a mutual arrangement which Russia, the US and a handful of other militaries are part of.
The treaty flights are fairly common and the same Russian Air Force jet was spotted recently landing at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas.
U.S. Air Force personnel were on the plane, which flew at low altitude around 3,700 feet. Per stipulations in the Open Skies Treaty, visiting aircraft are allowed to use specific wet film equipment or digital sensors to take aerial surveillance photos that are later shared with the host nation.
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Jack Straw, who was British foreign secretary in 2002 when the treaty was signed, said: 'This is a reciprocal treaty which allows us to fly over Russian Federation.
The treaty, for instance, obligates each member to make all of its territory available for observation, yet officials said Russia has imposed restrictions on surveillance over Moscow and Chechnya and near Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway regions of Georgia now under Russian control.
Washington, D.C.is not exempted from the treaty requirements, nor has there been any mention of private facilities such as golf courses owned by the president where he may be staying.
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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'.