FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual end of year news conference in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
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Russia will ask permission Monday to start flying surveillance planes equipped with high-powered digital cameras amid warnings from U.S. intelligence and military officials that such overflights help Moscow collect intelligence on the United States.Russia and the United States are signatories to the Open Skies Treaty, which allows unarmed observation flights over the entire territory of all 34 member nations to foster transparency about military activity and help monitor arms control and other agreements. Senior intelligence and military officials, however, worry that Russia is taking advantage of technological advances to violate the spirit of the treaty.It comes at one of the most tension-filled times in U.S.-Russia relations since the end of the Cold War, with the two countries at odds over Russian activity in Ukraine and Syria.A State Department official said Sunday that treaty nations had not yet received notice of the Russian request, but that certification of the Russian plane with a "digital electro-optical sensor" could not occur until this summer because the treaty requires a 120-day advance notification.
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