US Officially Notifies Russia of Its Withdrawal From Open Skies Treaty
11:49 GMT 22.05.2020(updated 12:24 GMT 22.05.2020)
The day before, US President Donald Trump said that he had a good relationship with Russia but Moscow did not adhere to the Open Skies Treaty allowing unarmed surveillance flights over member countries.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated on Friday that the US has officially notified Moscow of its withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty.
According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, the US quitting the Open Skies Treaty on observation flights will contribute to the break-up of the security system.
"On August 2, 2019, the US completed unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), and it broke up as a result. The break-up of this treaty that was largely crucial to the strategic stability became yet another step in the Americans dismantling the architecture of international security. Their accusations against Russia of lack of compliance with this document served as a pretext to quit it. Especially since nobody in Washington ever showed any facts to back up their claims," the deputy foreign minister said.
"Yesterday, we literally saw the same approach and repetition of the same behavioural model on the Open Skies Treaty," Ryabkov added.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo previously accused Russia of using Open Skies imagery to target critical infrastructure in the US and Europe with precision-guided conventional munitions.
He added that Washington may reconsider its withdrawal from the treaty "should Russia return to full compliance" with it.
The Open Skies Treaty, which entered into force in 2002, establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of the states who are members of the accord.
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