The Trump administration has officially withdrawn from a decades-old arms agreement with Russia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.
“Today, pursuant to earlier notice provided, the United States withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies is now effective. America is more secure because of it, as Russia remains in non-compliance with its obligations,” the US’ top diplomat said in a Twitter posting.
The treaty, signed in 1992 and put in effect in 2002, allows nations to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over each other’s territories.
The Trump administration, which had been reviewing the pact for the past six months and determined that Russia violated the treaty numerous times, informed Moscow last Thursday that it intended to pull out.
“During the course of this review it has become abundantly clear that it is no longer in America’s interests to remain a party to the Open Skies Treaty,” an administration official previously told The Post.
The Kremlin has not been allowing flights over Moscow and Chechnya, as well as near Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
It also placed restrictions on conducting observations in Kaliningrad, home to Russia’s Baltic fleet, where major military exercises are conducted, administration officials said.
US officials said the same information can be gathered from US or commercial satellites.
The Trump administration in August 2019 withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.
The treaty banned both sides from stationing short- and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe.
Washington said that for years Moscow has been developing and deploying nuclear weapons that violate the treaty and threaten the US and its allies, particularly in Europe.
US withdraws from Open Skies treaty with Russia: Mike Pompeo The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.