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The reasons for the United States to withdraw from the multilateral Open Skies Treaty include Washington’s desire to gain full control of the outer space, chief of the Russian National Centre for Nuclear Risk Reduction Sergei Ryzhkov said in an interview published by the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper on Friday.
"The first [reason] is the Americans’ desire to gain full control of space (systems of communication, navigation, space junk control, remote sensing of the earth and so on) and to make good profit in the future by selling relevant products," TASS quoted him as saying.
In his opinion, the second reason for the US unwillingness to let Russian military inspections on its territory is the fact that Russia’s surveillance and data collection capacities have seriously increased since the adoption of the treaty.
According to Ryzhkov, Russia’s current technologies used during the Open Skies Treaty implementation are seven years ahead of those of its rivals.
"It has become evident that in the area of introducing advanced technologies into the Open Skies Treaty, we are approximately 6-7 years ahead of our rivals," Ryzhkov said.
He said that the issue was first raised back in 2010s, when a group of congressmen from both the Democrats and the Republicans requested then US President Barack Obama to prevent Russia from using its new equipment for ‘spying’ on the US territory.
Developed with Moscow’s active participation, the Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992 and came into force in 2002. It currently has 34 member states. The treaty establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants. Observation flights are made over the territories of the United States, Canada, European countries, and Russia. Now, the treaty has more than 30 signatory states. Russia ratified the Treaty on Open Skies on May 26, 2001.
In practical terms, the treaty allows signatory states to perform observation flights over any part of the observed state party’s territory to monitor military activities in conformity with the agreed quotas of such missions. The treaty regulates observation flights procedures, establishes a mechanism of control over its observance, and sets requirements to the aircraft and observation equipment.