Russia announces exit from Open Skies treaty after U.S. withdrawal
As President Trump emphasized, Russia was convicted of non-compliance with the treaty
US President Donald Trump said Thursday that he has good relations with Russia, stressing, however, that Moscow does not adhere to the Open Skies Treaty. Moscow has been accused of committing many unseemly acts, Trump said, speaking to reporters before leaving for Michigan. The President added that he believes the existing problems will be resolved..
Earlier Thursday, the Trump administration notified foreign partners of its withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty, which allows unarmed observation aircraft to fly freely in the airspace of signatory countries..
The administration says that the United States wants to withdraw from the treaty, since Russia is violating it, and the data collected during flights can be obtained faster and cheaper from American or commercial satellites. US withdrawal from the treaty is expected to exacerbate tensions with Moscow and anger some European partners and members of Congress..
The treaty, to which 34 countries are currently parties, was signed decades ago to build confidence and prevent conflict. In accordance with the agreement, more than 1,500 flights were carried out. Each country undertakes to make its entire territory accessible for reconnaissance flights, however Russia has restricted access to certain areas.
Democrats from the House and Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees wrote a letter to Trump last month, saying that withdrawing from the treaty would shatter relations with European allies..
Earlier this month, 16 former senior European defense officials signed a statement in support of the treaty, noting that the US withdrawal would be a blow to international security and undermine international arms control agreements. Signers urged Washington to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the treaty.
Trump ordered a review of the costs and benefits of the Open Skies Treaty last fall, senior administration officials said. Based on the results of the audit, it was found that the United States is no longer interested in participating in the treaty..
On Thursday, the United States officially notified the rest of the parties to the treaty of its decision, and the formal withdrawal will be carried out in six months.
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