Trump to Withdraw U.S. From ‘Open Skies’ Treaty With Russia

President Donald Trump plans to withdraw the United States from the Open Skies Treaty, a key defense pact with Russia designed to improve transparency and confidence between the superpowers, the New York Times reported Thursday.

Trump plans to inform Moscow on Friday that the United States will pull out of the pact, which is rooted in Cold War efforts to prevent a conflict between the two countries.

The NYT said the move could be a prelude to Washington also withdrawing from the New START Treaty which limits the number of nuclear missiles the United States and Russia can deploy.

The 18-year-old Open Skies agreement between Russia, the United States and 32 other countries, mostly members of the NATO alliance, permits one country’s military to conduct a certain number of surveillance flights over another each year on short notice.

The aircraft can survey the territory below, collecting information and pictures of military installations and activities.

The idea is that the more rival militaries know about each other, the less the chance of conflict between them. 

But the sides also use the flights to examine vulnerabilities of their opponent. 

The United States has been frustrated that Russia will not permit U.S. flights over areas where Washington believes Moscow is deploying medium-range nuclear weapons that threaten Europe.

In March, Defense Secretary Mark Esper accused Russia of violating the treaty by forbidding U.S. and other foreign flights over the Baltic Sea city of Kaliningrad and near Georgia.

“We’ve also been denied access to military exercise overflights,” he said. “I have a lot of concerns about the treaty as it stands now.”

“This is important to many of our NATO allies, that they have the means to conduct the overflights,” he said.

The New York Times said Trump was also unhappy about a Russian flight over his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey three years ago.

(c) The Moscow Times

3 comments

  • “In March, Defense Secretary Mark Esper accused Russia of violating the treaty by forbidding U.S. and other foreign flights over the Baltic Sea city of Kaliningrad and near Georgia.”

    Russia have a different version of the treaty than any other country. Here is the official version.

    “The Open Skies regulations covers the territory over which the parties exercise sovereignty, including mainland, islands, and internal and territorial waters. The treaty specifies that the entire territory of a member state is open to observation. Observation flights may only be restricted for reasons of flight safety and not for reasons of national security.”

    Liked by 4 people

  • Open Skies? Conerning Moscow’s interpretation it’s rather The Ass Open…

    Liked by 3 people

  • onlyfactsplease

    Like we always say; a treaty with mafia land is nothing but used toilet paper. Treat them as such!

    Liked by 3 people

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