Russia abandons the Open Skies treaty

The Russian government announced on Friday that it is withdrawing from the Open Skies treaty, an agreement that allows to fly over territories and verify military movements among the signatories, because the United States also left the pact last year.

Lamenting “the obstacles for the treaty to continue to function in the current circumstances,” the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that it was beginning the process of “withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the Open Skies treaty.” The United States officially exited the international agreement, originally signed by 35 countries and which entered into force in 2002, on November 22, 2020.

Since then, “the balance of interests of the participating States (…) was considerably disturbed, serious damage was caused to its functioning and the role of the Open Skies treaty as a reinforcing instrument for confidence and security has been decimated” estimates Russian diplomacy. Moscow claims, however, to have done everything possible to save the pact, but its concrete proposals “did not receive the support of the allies of the United States.”

The Open Skies treaty gives each signatory country “the right to carry out and the obligation to accept observation flights over its territory”, to transmit control of its military activities and strategic facilities. Several European countries, including France, Germany, Belgium and Spain, regretted the US withdrawal last year, although they indicated that they shared the concerns of Washington, for whom Moscow did not respect the provisions of the treaty.

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