The US decision to not rejoin the Treaty on Open Skies points to the fact that Russia did the right thing by denouncing it, Chairman of the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee for Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky told reporters on Thursday.
"The US statements about the lack of intention to rejoin the Treaty on Open Skies confirm that Russia’s course to denounce it is the right one. We cannot continue this one-way street case when our European partners cannot provide legal guarantees that they will not share data about flights over Russian territories to the US side," Slutsky stressed.
According to him, Moscow needs to defend its interests and national security as well as "pursue its policy on an equal basis of parity." "Washington bears full blame for the practical destruction of the treaty. All our measures are dictated by the need to respond," he added.
The US earlier notified Russia about its decision to not rejoin the Treaty on Open Skies, TASS reports.
Washington withdrew from the Treaty on Open Skies in November 2020, citing Moscow’s alleged breaches of its clauses. On January 15, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Russia was launching domestic procedures to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies, justifying this step by a lack of progress in removing obstacles in order for the treaty to remain effective after Washington’s pullout. In April, the US Department of State announced that US authorities have not yet made a decision to return to the treaty. Washington has blamed Moscow for years for selectively adhering to the Treaty on Open Skies and violating a number of its provisions. Russia, in turn, has expressed grievances over Washington’s implementation of the treaty.
Russia’s lower house unilaterally passed the law to denounce the Treaty on Open Skies on May 19. The upper house is expected to hear this issue on June 2.
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in March 1992 in Helsinki by 27 member nations of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), known as the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) before 1995. The main purposes of the open skies regime are to develop transparency, render assistance in monitoring compliance with the existing or future arms control agreements, broaden possibilities for preventing and managing crises. The treaty establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants.