Denunciation of Open Skies pact is motivated by national interests, Russian diplomat says

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MOSCOW, June 7./TASS/. Russia’s proposals to keep the Treaty on Open Skies were ignored by Washington and its allies, so the decision of President Vladimir Putin to denounce it was motivated by the national interests of the country, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel on Monday.

“Due to the absence of any constructive responses and given the national interests, the president of the Russian Federation made the decision to launch intra-state procedures for Russia’s exit from the Open Skies Treaty, which were planned to be finalized had the US failed to jump-start the process to rejoin the treaty,” the diplomat said. The US, however, opted against doing so, she added.

“Russia’s efforts to keep the treaty elicited no response either in Washington or in the capital cities of US allies,” she stressed. European nations expressed regrets over the decision of the Donald Trump administration to withdraw from the treaty, but at the same time justified this move, calling it reasonable.

Zakharova reiterated that the tightening of US approaches in the vein of their generally anti-Russian policy beginning from 2017, led to the current developments. In 2018, Washington took a chain of actions impeding Russia’s observation flights over US territory. Additionally, due to the stance taken by Georgia, a critical situation was created, with no observation flights made within the framework of the treaty. The implementation of the agreements continued through Moscow’s efforts.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law to formalize Russia’s exit from the Treaty on Open Skies. On May 19, Russia’s lower house of parliament unanimously adopted the bill. The upper house followed suit on June 2, also backing the measure unanimously. On May 27, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman notified her Russian counterpart Sergey Ryabkov about Washington’s decision not to rejoin the treaty.