The Trump administration announced its intention to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty in May, accusing Russia of violating its conditions. Moscow dismissed the allegations.
With the scrapping of Open Skies as far as the US is concerned, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is now the last major arms control agreement between Russia and the USA.
The White House National Security Council has formally confirmed that the USA is no longer a party to the Open Skies Treaty, announcing the decision on Twitter.
The US formally announced its intention to abandon the Open Skies Treaty on 22 May, accusing Moscow of violating the treaty and using imagery obtained during flights to support a doctrine of targeting critical US and European civilian and military infrastructure with precision-guided conventional munitions.
Moscow indicated earlier Sunday that it would seek to save Open Skies, with the US’s NATO allies, as well as Sweden, Finland, Belarus, Ukraine and several other nations remaining members.
Washington’s formal withdrawal from the treaty was preceded by repeated freezes to co-operation by Congress, with the US beginning to make its claims about Russia’s alleged violations in 2017.
The Open Skies Treaty was signed in 1992 in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War, and has been in operation since 2002, allowing participants to legally collect information about one an-other’s military forces and activities via overflights using specially designed and marked aircraft. As a rule, flights by Russia and NATO are conducted reciprocally.
The Trump administration’s withdrawal from Open Skies leaves only one major arms control-related agreement between the nuclear superpowers – the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (or New START).
The US pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019, similarly accusing Russia of treaty violations, and left the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, prompting Moscow to begin work on its air-defense dodging hyper-sonic missiles, which were unveiled on the world in 2018.
Washington has threatened to allow New START to expire as well, demanding that China and its nuclear arsenal be accommodated within the 2010 agreement. Moscow and Beijing have each categorically rejected the idea.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2020.