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Russians Warn U.S. Withdrawal from Open Skies Treaty Worsens Global Security

May 22, 2020 (EIRNS)—The Russian response to the U.S. withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty is one of consternation and warning that the U.S. has taken yet another step to dismantle the system of global security. The Russian Foreign Ministry reported this morning that Moscow has received the U.S. notification that it will withdraw from the treaty. “On August 2, 2019, the U.S. completed unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), and it broke up as a result. The break-up of this treaty that was largely crucial to the strategic stability became yet another step in the Americans dismantling the architecture of international security. Their accusations against Russia of lack of compliance with this document served as a pretext to quit it. Especially since nobody in Washington ever showed any facts to back up their claims,” said Russian Deputy Foreign Sergei Ryabkov. “Yesterday, we literally saw the same approach and repetition of the same behavioral model on the Open Skies Treaty,” he added.

While the U.S. accuses Russia of violating the treaty, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Rossiya-24 in an interview yesterday that Russia has long had concerns about U.S. implementation which Russia has repeatedly expressed to the U.S. side. “For example, we said that since 2017 the U.S. has tightened its approaches to fulfilling this treaty in regard to Russia, and since January 2018 several restrictions have been imposed against our country,” she said.

“This is the refusal to grant permission to depart from U.S. rules of air traffic and norms of aviation security and changing special procedures for performing observation flights over the Hawaiian Islands, by limiting the maximum range of flights from Hickam Air Force Base and the refusal to allow overnight stops on mainland U.S. and many other things.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko warned that the U.S. withdrawal will damage the interests of Europe. “This move will not only worsen the situation of strategic stability and military security in Europe, but apparently it will also harm the interests of the U.S. allies that are parties to this European agreement,” he said yesterday, reported TASS.

Vladimir Yermakov, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, also told TASS that the U.S. allegations of Russian violations of the treaty have no basis in fact. “It is not for the first time that the U.S. is trying to present matters so as if Russia is violating something, to see this as a pretext for its withdrawal from the agreements on arms control,” he said. “We are ready for equal cooperation with the U.S. All issues were being settled quite adequately within the framework of the treaty, as it was also evidenced by NATO allies of the U.S.”

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