Russia officially withdrew this Saturday from the Open Skies Treaty, a multilateral agreement to ensure transparency in arms control, after the United States abandoned it last year.
“As of December 18, 2021, Russia is no longer part of the Open Skies Treaty”, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported in a statement.
The Council of the Russian Federation, the upper house of Parliament, had approved last June the country’s withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty, about two weeks after the bill received the green light in the lower house.
The vote was unanimous, according to the Russian news agency. Sputnik, in the middle of a process started in Moscow after The United States decided in November 2020 not to respond to requests to rejoin the same.
The entity led by Sergei Lavrov noted that the decision to participate in the Open Skies Treaty was not easy for Russia, which nevertheless agreed to join the agreement in order to “Strengthen international security”.
“One of the compelling arguments to join us was the participation of the United States in the Treaty, which advocated transparency in the military sphere but did not rush to open up its territory for the application of confidence-building measures”Said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
However, “the decades of successful implementation of the Open Skies Treaty demonstrated that served well as a confidence and security building tool, created additional possibilities for objective and non-judgmental assessment of the military capabilities of participating countries”According to Moscow.
“We left the treaty with the conscience of a great job done to keep it. In two decades Russia received the highest number of observation missions among all participating countries, we carried out 646 and received 449 of the 1580 carried out in our territory“Said the entity.
Furthermore, Moscow recalled that Russia was the first country to use digital equipment within the framework of this agreement.
“We do our best with deeds and not with words to comply with and preserve the Treaty (…) but unfortunately all our efforts did not allow it to be preserved in the form conceived by its creators,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which blamed the internal political struggle in the US for this.
Russia expressed its respect for the decision of the countries that chose to remain in the Open Skies Treaty and wished them “constructive and fruitful” work.
“However, it is already evident that without the participation of the US and our country, the effectiveness of the treaty will be sharply reduced: the area of its application is reduced by about 80% and the number of missions planned for 2022 will decrease sharply, “lamented Russian diplomacy.
The multilateral agreement to guarantee transparency regarding arms control in which some thirty countries participated has already been abandoned by the US in 2020.
Furthermore, in late May 2021, Washington notified Moscow that the new US Administration under Joe Biden‘s presidency will not return to the pact, after which Russia announced its upcoming withdrawal.
The Open Skies Treaty, signed in 1992 and in force since 2002, allows more than thirty countries fly over any part of the territory of the rest of the participants and photograph from the air in order to gather information on military activities.
(With information from EFE)
The Russian Parliament approved the country’s withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty
The United States informed Russia that it will not rejoin the “Open Skies” treaty.
The United States announced its withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty after accusing Russia of repeatedly violating it