A U.S. military plane is reportedly conducting surveillance flights over Russia to capture images of the country’s military equipment. The observation mission was completed under the Open Skies Treaty which allows the U.S., Russia and other countries to conduct a limited number of flights.

Source: Reissa Su |

According to Stars and Stripes, a U.S. observation aircraft was flying in Russian airspace in the past few days. U.S. Navy Commander Chris Nelson said not many people know about the treaty. He added that it always amazes people when he tells them that “Russians fly aircraft over the U.S. taking pictures.”

The U.S. surveillance mission was conducted amid the country’s increasing isolation because of sanctions over Ukraine. The report said there was a time when surveillance flights were done covertly over Russia. In 2002, Russia, the U.S. and other countries that signed the Treaty on Open Skies have allowed such missions to take place.

The international agreement has indicated the number of flights, surveillance equipment allowed on board and the list of airports that can be used. The treaty can provide the U.S. with useful information concerning Russian military movements, especially any equipment or troops heading to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Nov 19 that the U.S. and Russia could find ways to cooperate if the relationship between countries would be based on “mutual respect and pragmatism.” His statement comes after meeting the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Tefft, who presented Mr Putin his credentials in a ceremony held at the St Alexander Hall in the Kremlin.

During the ceremony, Mr Putin said that Moscow is “ready for practical cooperation” with the U.S. if there is mutual respect for one another’s “interests, equality and nonintervention in domestic affairs.” He declared that Russia and the U.S. have the responsibility to maintain global security and stability as well as overcoming international threats.

Mr Putin has previously accused the West for setting off the crisis in Ukraine. In a speech before his political supporters, he said the U.S. was attempting to subdue Russia, but it cannot succeed because no one ever has.