Putin Proposes Bill to Pull out of Open Skies Treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed a bill to to the State Duma to denounce the Open Skies Treaty, TASS reported citing the lower house.

“To denounce the Treaty on Open Skies signed in the city of Helsinki on March 24,1992,” the document said. A note explains that the Treaty “contributed to significantly building trust in the military field.”

Russia contributed tremendously to the implementation of the Open Skies Treaty and was the host as well as it carried out the biggest number of observation flights on an annual level and was the first to create and start using digital equipment for surveillance.

“On November 22, 2020 the U.S. used a far-fetched pretext to leave the Treaty, thus significantly disrupting the balance of interests of the parties to the Treaty achieved when it was signed. Thus, a serious damage was dealt to observing the Treaty and its significance in building trust and transparency, and a threat to Russia’s national security emerged. Amid these circumstances, a decision was made on launching inter-state procedures on Russia’s withdrawal from the Treaty,” the note explains, as quoted by TASS.

The bill has officially gotten the stamp of approval from Russia’s government.

On January 15, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow had kicked off internal state efforts to pull out of the Open Skies Treaty. The Russian diplomatic agency said that the move was an absence of progress to remove obstacles for the Treaty to continue in new conditions after the United States withdrew from it in November 2020. The U.S. Department of State stated in April that Washington had not decided yet on rejoining the Open Skies Treaty.

On May 5, the government of Russia passed a resolution for approval to terminate the Treaty and referred this proposal to the president. On May 9, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov was appointed as the official envoy to the Federal Assembly by President Putin, on issues of the denunciation of the Open Skies Treaty.

For years, Washington had been accusing Moscow of exercising a selective approach to implementing the Open Skies Treaty and violating a number of its provisions. Russia had been laying counterclaims on the Treaty’s implementation, as reported by TASS.