Russia completes withdrawal from Open Skies Treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law, completing Russia’s withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty (OST), the Kremlin said on Monday.

The bill was initiated by Putin after the US announced its intention to withdraw from the treaty and was approved by both chambers of the Russian parliament — the State Duma and the Council of Federation — the Kremlin said in a statement.

“The USA withdrew from the Treaty under a far-fetched pretext, which significantly violated the balance of interests of the parties to the Treaty — and reached at conclusion. Thus, compliance with the Treaty and its importance in building confidence and transparency were seriously damaged, and the national security of the Russian Federation was threatened.

“In connection with these circumstances, a decision was made to withdraw the Russian Federation from the Treaty,” the statement noted.

The US launched the withdrawal process from the OST in November under the former Donald Trump administration, triggering a symmetrical response from Russia.

After Joe Biden was elected new US president, Moscow said it was ready to return to the treaty if Washington also reaffirms its commitment. But expectations have been subverted.

According to the procedure, Putin had to get approval from the Russian parliament and sign the withdrawal bill, sealing Russia’s withdrawal from the agreement.

The Open Skies Treaty took effect on Jan. 1, 2002. It was drafted to enhance mutual understanding and transparency in military building and suggests the possibility of unarmed aerial surveillance flights above the entire territory of its participants.

Source: A News

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