The United States indicated that it would withdraw from the 18-year-old Open Sky Treaty, accusing Russia of repeatedly violating the treaty.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the news on Thursday, saying that the United States will notify Russia. The other 34 signatories will withdraw within 6 months, but they may reconsider "Russia should fully comply with the treaty."
Open Sky was signed in 1992 and came into effect in 2002. It allowed unarmed surveillance flights to each other's members
Surveillance groups criticized the move, saying it increased the possibility of an arms race or unexpected military confrontation. Analysts worry that the withdrawal of the United States may prompt Moscow to withdraw its troops, which will end the remaining member states ’overflights to Russia, thereby weakening European security, while Russian-backed separatists controlled parts of Ukraine and Georgia.
Washington cited several years of reports. Russia has attempted to violate these terms, such as restricting the United States from flying over Russian military enclaves in Georgia and the Baltic coast of Kaliningrad. "Russia does not comply with the treaty. Therefore, before they insist, we will withdraw, but it is very likely that we will reach a new agreement or take certain measures to regroup the agreement." President Donald Trump said .
"Our position is absolutely clear and unchanged: the withdrawal of the treaty by the United States will once again attack the European military security system, which has been weakened by the government ’s previous actions." Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Ge Rusko said.
Last year, the United States withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and also accused Russia of repeated violations. The INF treaty prohibits the production, testing and deployment of medium-range land-based cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5500 kilometers.
The only remaining treaty restricting the nuclear arsenals between the United States and Russia is the New Beginning Treaty, which limits the number of long-range nuclear warheads and launchers between the United States and Russia. Russia proposes to extend the treaty, which expires in February, but Trump insisted on negotiating a tripartite agreement with Russia and China.