The unacceptable situation around the Open Skies Treaty (OON) after the US withdrawal pushed Russia to begin the procedure for withdrawing from the treaty. This was announced on Friday, January 15, by the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova. She stressed that for Western OST members, focusing on the United States has become more important than compliance with the treaty.
“The withdrawal of the United States from the Open Skies Treaty (OON) radically changed the configuration laid down in the formation of the open skies regime and upset the balance of interests of the participating states,” said Zakharova, her words are quoted on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
She added that the Russian Foreign Ministry had warned about the “serious consequences” of the US withdrawal from the Don, both for the treaty itself and for European security. moreover, Washington has spoken several times that Moscow is allegedly abiding by the treaty in bad faith. At the same time, Russia responded reasonably to all attacks against itself. At the same time, the United States violated the DON more than once and did not explain anything.
According to a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, in 2015, the United States did not allow the Russian An-30B observation aircraft to enter / exit the country. The Tu-154M-Lk1 aircraft was at that time under maintenance. As a result, the refusal to enter the An-30B meant the complete closure of the United States from Russian observation flights.
“The United States has been delaying the formulation of the rules for flying over its remote island territories for more than 13 years and thus closed them from observation missions. In violation of the treaty, the United States established the maximum range for flights over the territory of the Hawaiian Islands based not on an open skies airfield, but from a refueling airfield and illegally reduced observation capabilities by 260 km, ”Zakharova stated.
However, in the opinion of the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Moscow, despite numerous violations of the OST by Washington, made efforts to preserve the treaty. But after the US withdrew from the treaty and withdrawn from itself the obligation to accept observation flights over its territory, the tendency towards the destruction of the OST became irreversible.
“The current situation is absolutely unacceptable for us, since, in fact, all NATO members would still have the opportunity to observe the entire territory of Russia, and the territory of the leader of the alliance, the United States, was closed from Russian observation,” Zakharova added.
It was these factors that prompted the Russian leaders to begin domestic procedures for Russia’s withdrawal from the Don.
Earlier in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the Russian Federation was starting domestic procedures for the country’s withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty.
Anton Morozov, a member of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, said on the same day that the Don was no longer of particular practical importance. Despite the symbolic significance of the treaty, the US’s demonstrative withdrawal from it showed that they no longer want to preserve the architecture of international security that emerged at the end of the 20th century and will in every possible way provoke Russia and other countries that are gaining strength in the military sphere to intensify confrontation, Morozov said.
The head of the Federation Council committee on international affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, said that the blame for the termination of the Open Skies Treaty lies entirely with the United States and its NATO allies. At the end of November 2020, Assistant to the President of the United States Robert O’Brien confirmed that Washington is no longer a member of the Don.
The Open Skies Treaty was signed in 1992 and entered into force in 2002. It allows member states to make reconnaissance flights over each other’s territories.