Russian officials are grousing at how long Washington is taking to certify a new spy plane for arms-control verification flights in the United States.
The advanced Russian surveillance aircraft reportedly is a cause of concern for Pentagon military brass and the intelligence agencies, who worry that its digital sensors will provide Moscow with too much explicit detail about U.S. military capabilities. Washington national-security officials were previously reported to be in disagreement with the State Department over whether to allow the plane to conduct Open Skies Treaty flights.
Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich on Monday said Washington was not abiding by the pact, the Washington Times reported.
“We have to state with regret that the American side, the only of the parties to the Treaty on Open Skies, has long been adhering to a highly non-constructive position on the examination of our digital observation equipment by putting forth requirements that are not provided for in the treaty,” the spokesman said.
The Open Skies accord guarantees signatories the right to conduct overflights of the territory of other member states for the purposes of noting troop movements and military-vehicle deployments, and for confirming that arms control commitments are being met.