Russia officially withdraws from Open Skies Treaty

2021-12-19 16:38:07Xinhua Editor : Feng Shuang ECNS App Download

A file photo of a US OC-135 plane for Open Skies flights

Russia has officially withdrawn from the Treaty on Open Skies, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced Saturday in a statement.

"Decades of fruitful implementation of the treaty showed that it has served well as a tool for strengthening confidence and security, creating additional opportunities for an objective and unbiased assessment of the military potential and military activities of the participating states," it said.

The ministry mentioned that during Russia's participation in the treaty, the country has conducted 646 flights, and allowed for 449 flights to be carried out over its territory among the 1,580 total flights made.

"Unfortunately, all our efforts did not allow us to preserve the treaty as it was intended by its authors," it said.

"The entire responsibility for the degradation of the agreement lies with the initiator of the collapse of the Treaty on Open Skies: the United States of America," the ministry said.

After the formal U.S. withdrawal in November 2020, the Russian Foreign Ministry said this January that the country had started domestic legal procedures for the official pullout from the treaty.

On June 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law to quit the treaty.

The multilateral pact, which came into effect in 2002, allows its states-parties to conduct short-notice, unarmed reconnaissance flights over the others' territories to collect data on military forces and activities.


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