Sunday, June 20

Russia abandons the Open Skies Treaty and further strains relations with the West

Correspondent in Moscow



The Federation Council (Upper House of the Russian Parliament) unanimously approved this Wednesday the Russia’s exit from the Open Skies Treaty, an agreement in force since 2002. It was signed by some thirty countries: the United States, Russia, Canada, Turkey, almost the entire European Union, including Spain.

It was a transparency effort with the aim of allowing overflights of aerial surveillance in order to obtain information on military installations and movements of troops and ships. USA he left it in November of last year. Now you only need the signature of the president Vladimir Putin so that Russia also stops being part of the treaty.

In this way, one more arms control mechanism will disappear along with already buried agreements such as the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missiles) or the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Only survive START
, for the reduction of long-range nuclear offensive weapons, whose validity was prolonged ‘in extremis’ last February for a period of five years.

This new twist to the global security system takes place in a devilish context, while the military confrontation between Russia and the West, not only in eastern Europe, fueled by the situation in Ukraine, but also in the Arctic, where Moscow increases its number of bases, troops and armaments every day.

The US abandoned the treaty in 2020

announced the abandonment of the Open Skies Treaty in May last year due to “repeated breaches” by Moscow. The then president did it Donald Trump. “The Open Skies Treaty was supposed to contribute to international security, but it has been twisted and perverted in its interpretation and is now at the service of Russian objectives that go against that security,” said its Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He denounced in particular that “Russia prevents monitoring its military maneuvers from the air and does not allow flights over regions where it could have deployed nuclear weapons capable of easily reaching Europe.”

“Russia prevents monitoring its military maneuvers from the air”

Indeed, the Russian Defense Ministry vetoed Allied aircraft from flying over large areas of Kaliningrad, the former East Prussia, of Crimea and observe Russia’s border with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, territories that once belonged to Georgia, but are now practically Russian protectorates, since it has its army deployed there.

Pompeo also reproached Moscow for using the images obtained after the Open Skies flights “to support a new and aggressive Russian doctrine that seeks to attack critical infrastructure in USA Y Europe with conventional precision ammunition.

In Pompeo’s view, Russia could also be using the overflights “to identify infrastructure vulnerable to cyberattacks.” ‘The New York Times’ then wrote that Trump He was surprised when a Russian military plane flew over his golf club in Bedminster (New Jersey). But Russia has always denied all accusations, blaming Washington for the failure of the Open Skies Treaty by abandoning it “unilaterally.”

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