Russia withdraws from Open Skies Treaty

The system of Russian-American agreements on mutual arms control and military activity, created at the end of the Cold War, continues to fall apart.

Moscow is beginning the process to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

“On November 22, the United States withdrew from the treaty. As a result, the balance of interests of the signatories was "substantially disrupted, its effectiveness was seriously damaged, and the role of the Open Skies Treaty as a confidence-building and security tool was undermined," the ministry said in a statement.

“The Russian side has put forward a number of proposals to maintain the viability of the treaty, but they have not received support from the U.S. partners," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Signed in 1992 and ratified in 2002, the treaty allowed 35 member states to carry out unarmed observation flights over each other's territory.

The U.S. has accused Russia of restricting flights under the treaty over Moscow and other key cities where the U.S. administration believes Russia’s nuclear weapons may be concentrated.

The U.S., at the same time, allowed low-altitude flights over Washington, Pentagon and CIA headquarters, as well as a number of sensitive sites, such as the Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. “After the completion of the internal procedures, exit notification from the Open Skies Treaty will be sent to the signatories,” the press service of the Russian Foreign Ministry said.


  Open Skies Treaty, Russia, USA