The US withdraws from the Treaty on open skies for Russia: what it means and than threatens

USA decided to withdraw from the Treaty on open skies, accusing Russia of repeated violations of its terms, said the head of the State Department Mike Pompeo, BBC reports.

США выходят из Договора об открытом небе из-за России: что это значит и чем грозит

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The contract, which unites 35 States, allows you to make sightseeing flights aircraft not carrying weapons over the territories of the participating countries.

In his statement, published on the website of the US State Department, Pompeo enumerates many examples of Russia’s violations of the terms of the contract. In particular, he argues that the Russian army used overflights of the US to restore its high-precision weapons in the strategically important American and European objects.

“Instead of having to use the open skies Treaty as a mechanism for building trust and confidence while respecting openness in military matters, Russia thus turned the agreement into an instrument of intimidation and threats, have made it a continuation of their weapons,” the statement says Pompeo.

What else unhappy with US

In addition, among the claims put forward by the US Secretary of state:

The refusal of Russia to allow observation flights in the 10-kilometer corridor along the border of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia. According to Pompeo, so Moscow “is trying to promote their false claims that these occupied [by Russia] of the territory of independent States”.

The allocation of the airfields for refueling of aircraft flying under the Treaty, on the ground, which are located in Crimea, which the US and the vast majority of the world consider the territory of Ukraine.

“It is also an attempt to bring his allegations about the alleged annexation of the Peninsula, which the United States does not agree and will never agree,” — said in a statement.

The imposition of restrictions on flights over the Kaliningrad — a Russian enclave located between the countries of the European Union. Approval Pompeo, on this territory there are a significant number of Russian weapons, including nuclear missiles short-range actions aimed at NATO.

The Secretary of state said on Friday that the US will give all parties a formal notification of withdrawal from the contract and in six months will no longer be bound by its terms.

“However, we can reconsider its decision in the case, if Russia will return to full compliance with the Treaty,” said Pompeo.

Russia’s Reaction

The Russian foreign Ministry said that if the United States really get out of the contract, it will be a regrettable step.

“Unfortunately, this fits into the General line of the current administration to undermine all agreements in the field of arms control. This agreement — key terms of predictability and mutual trust in Europe and on a wider scale” — said a senior diplomat in conversation with RIA Novosti news Agency.

The Russian foreign Ministry insists that Russia has never violated the terms of this agreement, and stressed that Moscow regrets this move on the part of Washington.

NATO collects ambassadors

Foreign Minister of Germany Heiko Maas urged the US to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the Treaty and said that Berlin, like other EU countries, will continue to abide by it.

“I deeply regret this statement — said of the Masses. Together with our partners we will convince the US to reconsider its decision.”

Maas added that Germany, together with France, Poland and great Britain have repeatedly told Washington that problems in relations with Russia “not worth” having to withdraw from the Treaty.

According to sources, the Agence France-Presse, on Friday, the NATO ambassadors will hold an emergency meeting to discuss the decision of the United States.

A new round of negotiations?

President trump commended, in his opinion, the chances to conclude a new agreement with Russia. According to him, the US President hopes that Russia would be willing to sign a new deal.

“I think we have a good agreement, but Russia has not complied with the agreement, — said trump Thursday. — Until they begin to comply, we leave”.

This is another step of the administration of Donald trump at the conclusion of the U.S. from a number of major international treaties, including the Treaty on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range nuclear forces (INF).

Reuters also reports that American officials have begun in recent days to negotiate with a group of Russian officials about the beginning of a new round of talks on nuclear weapons.

“Our goal is to put at the negotiating table for two strong teams to begin to develop new measures to curb nuclear weapons of new generation. The United States is committed to arms control. We stand for European security. And we stand for a future that will impose significant restrictions on nuclear weapons,” said the unnamed diplomat.

The Treaty on open skies was signed on 24 March 1992 in Helsinki by representatives of 23 member States of the OSCE.

Alarming news for US partners

The analysis of the correspondent Bi-bi-si for defence of Jonathan Marcus

Leaving the open skies Treaty, the President, Donald trump actually refuses the agreement on arms control, which was considered important to maintain transparency in the military sphere after the cold war.

Moreover, he refuses the agreement which, in the opinion of many experts, still gives the United States enormous benefits.

And the fact that it happens when the entire control structure is crumbling and approaching a new era of the arms race, it is doubly depressing.

So what the Treaty allows?

It allows you to fly with weapons aircraft-reconnaissance over the territory of another country without informing in advance. This could be done, for example, to collect data about military installations and the redeployment of troops.

In recent years this has been a number of problems. The US claim that Russia did not give access to some of their territory. However, as the critics say trump, it’s the reason to improve the Contract, not for abandonment.

The United States will be able to use satellites to collect information about Russia, but the trump decision would create tensions with European allies who do not have access to such technologies.

The contract may be continued in the interests of Russia, which will continue to do overflights partners Washington, and this will only exacerbate their anxiety.

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