Russia withdraws from Open Skies Treaty after US departure

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MOSCOW (AP) – Russia said on Friday it would withdraw from an international treaty allowing observation flights over military installations after the United States exited the pact.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the United States’ withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty last year “had significantly upset the balance of interests of the signatory states,” adding that Moscow’s proposals to maintain the treaty alive after the exit of the United States had been ruthlessly rejected by Washington. allies.

The treaty aimed to build confidence between Russia and the West by allowing the more than three dozen signatories to the agreement to conduct reconnaissance flights over their respective territories to gather information on the forces and forces. military activities.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow was in the process of initiating the relevant procedural steps to withdraw from the pact.

US President Donald Trump declared Washington’s intention to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty in May, saying Russian violations made it untenable for the United States to stay a party. The United States completed its withdrawal from the pact in November.

Russia has denied violating the treaty, which entered into force in 2002. The European Union urged the United States to reconsider and called on Russia to stay in the pact.

Moscow argued that the US withdrawal would erode global security by making it harder for governments to interpret the intentions of other nations, especially amid Russian-Western tensions following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. in 2014.

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