Russia officially leaves Open Skies Treaty

TEHRAN, Dec. 18 (MNA) – Russia on Saturday officially withdrew from the Treaty on Open Skies, according to local media.

On June 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law to quit the Treaty on Open Skies. Russia notified all related parties of its pullout on June 18 and the decision came into force six months later, CGTN reported.

The treaty, which became effective in 2002, allows state parties to conduct short-notice, unarmed reconnaissance flights over the territories under the sovereignty of other signatories to collect data on military forces and activities as a way to build confidence and familiarity.

Washington officially announced its withdrawal from the accord in November 2020 under then US President Donald Trump, accusing Moscow of "violating" its clauses. Moscow has rejected all accusations.

Russia has stressed that the United States is responsible for the collapse of the treaty.

"Regrettably, our efforts did not allow us to preserve the treaty in the form in which its authors conceived it," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday, calling the US the "initiator" of the collapse of the treaty. 

Konstantin Gavrilov, head of the Russian Delegation to the Vienna Negotiations on Military Security and Arms Control, said earlier this week that Russia had been trying to keep the treaty in place up until the very end, TASS News Agency reported on Friday. 

"The future of the Open Skies Treaty lies completely with the remaining states parties, though its territorial coverage will significantly decrease, provided the treaty remains in effect without Russia and the United States. The value of the political and informational aspects will also be impaired considerably," Gavrilov said. 

He noted that Russia still has abilities to monitor the territory of the US and its allies after pulling out of the treaty. Moscow "has a satellite constellation capable of following any movement of armed forces both in Europe and on the other side of the Atlantic," he said. 

ZZ/PR

News Code 181907

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