Trump administration pulling out of Open Skies reconnaissance treaty over Russian Federation violations

US says pulling out of Open Skies treaty, citing Russian violations

US signals intentions to withdraw from Open Skies treaty

Russia's implementation and violation of Open Skies, however, has undermined this central confidence-building function of the Treaty - and has, in fact, fueled distrust and threats to our national security - making continued USA participation untenable.

The Trump administration notified worldwide partners on Thursday that it is pulling out of a treaty that permits 30-plus nations to conduct unarmed, observation flights over each other's territory - overflights set up decades ago to promote trust and avert conflict. At the end of April, the U.S.

Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien said the president has made clear that the United States will not remain a party to global agreements being violated by the other parties and are no longer in America's interests.

But the United States may "reconsider" the decision should Russia "Russia return to full compliance with the Treaty", Pompeo said.

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The Russian ministry republished a list of its own grievances on Thursday, saying the USA has put a number of new Open Sky restrictions in place since Trump took office.

"They [Russia] have been cheating for many years", Defense Secretary Mark Esper told the Senate Armed Services Committee after Russia blocked US flights over Kaliningrad, which borders South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Russia recognizes as independent nations that are not subject to the treaty. He has until February to extend it for up to five years.It is the last remaining restraint on deployments of USA and Russian strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems to no more than 1,550 each.

The US will inform Russian Federation of its decision on Friday and formally withdraw in six months, officials said. Chris Ford, assistant secretary of state for worldwide security and nonproliferation, told reporters there are "many variables" as to what that would entail, particularly as a number of American complaints about Russian activities involve behaviors that, Ford acknowledged, are "not in fact violations of the treaty". "Effective six months from tomorrow, the United States will no longer be a party to the Treaty", Pompeo said.

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President Dwight Eisenhower first proposed that the United States and the former Soviet Union allow aerial reconnaissance flights over each other's territory in July 1955.

The senior administration officials said Russian violations of the treaty were the main reason for exiting the treaty. At first, Moscow rejected the idea, but President George H.W. Bush revived it in 1989, and the treaty entered into force in January 2002. Currently, 34 nations have signed it; Kyrgyzstan has signed but not ratified it yet.

He cited Russia's refusal to allow flights over areas where Washington believes Moscow is deploying medium-range nuclear weapons, including the Baltic Sea city of Kaliningrad and near the Russia-Georgia border.

The Brookings Institution calls a decision to withdraw "unwise" and another blow to arms control efforts. "I have a lot of concerns about the treaty as it stands now".

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We understand that many of our Allies and partners in Europe still find value in the Treaty, and we are grateful for the thoughtful feedback they have offered us during the course of our review of these questions.

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