Monday, June 7th, 2021
Biden continues Trump policy
Putin closes airspace for reconnaissance flights
Compliance with disarmament agreements has been ensured since 1955 by mutual reconnaissance overflights. Trump, however, withdraws the US as president from the Open Skies treaty. Since his successor is making no move to break with Trump’s step, Moscow is now also drawing the consequences.
After the USA, Russia is also leaving the Open Skies Treaty on air surveillance. President Vladimir Putin signed a law to this effect. The agreement allows unarmed flights over the territory of the contracting parties. Russia had hoped that Putin and US President Joe Biden would discuss the treaty at their scheduled meeting in Geneva at the end of June and that the US would reverse their exit. However, in May the US government informed the Russian leadership that it did not want to return to the treaty.
In May 2020, under President Donald Trump, the USA announced that it would leave for six months later. Trump had accused Russia of not complying with the agreement. The government in Moscow had contradicted this, but at the same time announced in January that it would withdraw from the agreement. The Russian government said that the US withdrawal seriously upset the balance of interests between the parties.
The importance of the Open Skies Treaty for building trust and transparency has suffered considerable damage and the national security of Russia has been threatened, the government said on its website. Therefore, Russia has been forced to take the step that has now been taken.
The Open Skies Treaty was proposed in 1955 by US President Dwight Eisenhower as a confidence-building measure. In 1992 it was signed by the states of NATO and the former Warsaw Pact. Great Britain, Canada and Turkey, among others, support the contract. The signatory states are allowed to fly over each other’s territory on defined routes and create situation reports. Arms control agreements are to be monitored and peace secured.