The Russian government has announced on Friday they would withdraw from an international treaty allowing observation flights over military facilities following the United States’ exit from the pact.
The country’s Foreign Ministry in a statement lamented that the US withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty in 2020 “significantly upended the balance of interests of signatory states.”
According to the foreign ministry, Moscow’s proposals to keep the treaty alive after the US exit have been cold-shouldered by US allies.
The so called Open Skies Treaty was designed to build trust between Russia and the West by allowing the accord’s more than three dozen signatories to conduct reconnaissance flights over each other’s territories to collect information about military forces and activities.
The Foreign Ministry elaborated that Russia was already activating the relevant procedural moves to withdraw from the pact.
US President Donald Trump declared Washington’s intention to pull out of the Open Skies Treaty in May, arguing that Russian violations made it untenable for the US to remain a party. The US completed its withdrawal from the pact in November.
Russia denied breaching the treaty, which came into force in 2002. The European Union has urged the US to reconsider and called on Russia to stay in the pact.
Politicians in Moscow have opined has that the Washington’s decision to withdrawal from the treaty will erode global security by making it more difficult for governments to interpret the intentions of other nations.
This is coming at a time Russia-West relationship peaked a new low particularly after the Kremlin backed forces annexed Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014