U.S. pulling out of Open Skies treaty

22:30, 21 May 2020
World
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U.S. Air Force

This is U.S. President Donald Trump administration's latest move to pull the country from a major global treaty, Reuters reports.

The administration said Russia has repeatedly violated the pact's terms. Senior officials said the pullout will formally take place in six months, based on the treaty's withdrawal terms.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to a small group of reporters, said the decision followed a six-month review that found multiple instances of Russian refusal to comply with the treaty.

The administration also pulled the United States out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia last year.

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At the same time, the official said U.S. officials had begun talks in recent days with Russian officials about a new round of nuclear arms negotiations to "begin crafting the next generation of nuclear arms control measures."

"The United States is committed to arms control. We are committed to European security. And we are committed to a future that puts meaningful constraints on nuclear weapons," the official said.

The Open Skies treaty, initially proposed by U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955, was signed in 1992 and took effect in 2002. The idea is to let 35 member nations make surveillance flights over each other's countries to build trust.

The officials cited a years-long effort by Russia to violate the terms, such as by restricting U.S. overflights of Russia neighbor Georgia and its military enclave in Kaliningrad.

In addition, they said Russia has been using its own overflights of American and European territory to identify critical U.S. infrastructure for potential attack in a time of war.

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