President Putin signs law taking Russia out of Open Skies treaty

The Kremlin said on Monday that the US decision to withdraw from the treaty had “significantly upset the balance of interests” among the pact’s members and had compelled Russia to exit.

President Putin signs law taking Russia out of Open Skies treaty
President Putin signs law taking Russia out of Open Skies treaty

Russian President Putin signed a law on Monday that formalises Russia’s exit from the Open Skies limitation treaty, a pact that permits unarmed surveillance flights over member countries.Russia had hoped that Putin and his us counterpart Joe Biden could discuss the treaty once they meet later this month at a summit in Geneva.But the Biden administration informed Moscow in May that it might not re-enter the pact after the Trump administration quit it last year.

The Kremlin said on Monday that the US decision to withdraw from the treaty had “significantly upset the balance of interests” among the pact’s members and had compelled Russia to exit.

“This caused serious damage to the treaty’s observance and its significance in building confidence and transparency, (causing) a threat to Russia’s national security,” the Kremlin said during a statement on its website.Moscow had hoped that Biden would reverse his predecessor’s decision.

But the Biden administration didn't change tack, accusing Russia of violating the pact, which Moscow denied.Russian officials said they regretted the US decision to not rejoin, calling it a “political mistake” and warned the move wouldn't create an environment conducive to limitation discussions at the Geneva summit.

Alleged violations

In January, Russia announced its own plans to go away the treaty, and therefore the government submitted legislation to parliament last month to formalise its departure.At that point , a Kremlin spokesman said one reason was that the US was still ready to receive information acquired via the treaty from its NATO allies.

But US officials have said Russia has breached the treaty by restricting US overflights of Russia’s neighbour Georgia and therefore the Russian enclave in Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast.

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