Russia will remain in the Open Skies Treaty (OST) if the United States decides to return to its observance. Konstantin Gavrilov, head of the Russian delegation at the Vienna talks on military security and arms control, said this in an interview with Izvestia.
He specified that Washington has time until the end of May to make such a decision.
“The United States still has a month to think about it. If they decide to reaffirm their commitment to confidence-building and military transparency, it won’t be our business. We are open to painstaking work on the settlement of mutual claims within the framework of the OST both with the United States and with other participating states, ”the diplomat said.
According to Gavrilov, one of these days the government is expected to present to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin a bill on denunciation of the treaty, then it will go for consecutive consideration in the chambers of the Federal Assembly. The diplomat also emphasized that after the completion of these procedures, Russia will transmit an official note of withdrawal from the DON to the depositories of the treaty – Hungary and Canada.
“Then the six-month period will begin prior to our actual withdrawal from the contract. Chaired by the depositories, an extraordinary conference of the participating States will be held, which will consider the reasons and possible consequences of our decision for the Open Skies community, ”he explained the procedure.
Earlier on April 26, Gavrilov said that the situation developing around the Open Skies Treaty is leading to its collapse, Russia will be ready to approve its denunciation in a matter of days.
On April 16, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the fate of the Don was hanging in the balance. Prior to this, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Ryabkov pointed out to Washington that the fate of the treaty should be determined by the end of May. He noted that Moscow does not yet see the American side’s interest in returning to the Don.
On April 7, the US State Department noted that a decision on the future US participation in the OST had not yet been made. The representative of the department indicated that Washington is actively studying issues related to the agreement, and also consults with allies and partners.
In early February, the new US administration began exploring the possibility of returning to the treaty. Then Lavrov indicated that Moscow would consider returning to the Don, subject to the return of the United States.
The United States withdrew from DON on November 22, 2020. In response, the Russian Federation began the process of withdrawing from the treaty on January 15, even before the administration changed in the White House. Until the process is completed, Moscow continues to comply with all obligations under the agreement.
DON was signed in 1992 and entered into force in 2002. The treaty allows member states to conduct reconnaissance flights over each other’s territories.
Read more in an exclusive interview with Izvestia:
“The United States still has a month to think about it”