US pulls out of Treaty on Open Skies
President Donald Trump announced on 21 May that the US will withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies, at least temporarily, citing alleged Russian violations of the international agreement.
‘Russia didn't adhere to the treaty,’ Trump said, adding: ‘Until they adhere we will pull out.’
The Treaty on Open Skies allows signatory nations to conduct an agreed quota of unarmed aerial surveillance flights at short notice in each other’s airspace. The US and Canada were the only non-European countries among the 35 nations to join the treaty since it came into force in January 2002.
Russia denies any transgressions of the treaty. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told state-owned news agency RIA Novosti: ‘Nothing prevents continuing the discussions over the technical issues, which the US is misrepresenting as violations by Russia.’
The US withdrawal, temporary or otherwise, represents the latest expression of unilateralism from the Trump Administration. In 2019, the US pulled out of another major defence agreement: the bilateral Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia.
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