Published: June 07, 2021 10:46 am
Russian President Vladimir Putin has sealed his country’s withdrawal from the treaty on international military observation flights. This emerges from a law published by the Kremlin on Monday. The 1992 Agreement on the Open Skies (Open Skies Treaty) is about to be terminated after the USA also withdrew.
The US government informed Russia at the end of May that it did not want to revert to the agreement. According to Russian information, this means that the topic will also be off the table at the Putin summit with US President Joe Biden on June 16 in Geneva.
Open Skies in force since 2002
Russia had repeatedly spoken out in favor of saving the agreement. Putin himself then initiated the exit process. Last week, the Federation Council – the House of Lords – voted for the end of the contract after parliament. Putin’s signature was the last legal act to withdraw from the agreement signed in Helsinki on March 24, 1992. It has been in force since 2002.
The administration of then US President Donald Trump announced around a year ago that the US would withdraw from the Open Skies Agreement. As a result, Russia blamed the United States for the end of the agreement.
Just an agreement between the USA and Russia
The agreement allowed the last 34 signatory states, among other things, several observation flights per year in the airspace of the contracting parties. Military observation flights between NATO countries and Russia have been important for building trust since the end of the Cold War.
Now only one important arms control agreement remains between the United States and Russia: the New Start nuclear disarmament treaty. Shortly before it expired in February, Biden and Putin had agreed on an extension. The New Start Treaty limits the nuclear arsenals of both countries to 800 delivery systems and 1,550 ready-to-use nuclear warheads.
Accessed on June 8th, 2021 at 11:28 am on https://www.salzburg24.at/news/welt/open-skies-putin-besiegel-ausstieg-aus-vertrag-104871601