Moscow, (Asian independent) The Russian government said that it has approved a bill on the country’s withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies and will submit the document to President Vladimir Putin.
As the legal procedure requires, Putin will then submit the bill to Parliament for deliberation and approval, and finally sign it into law, officially terminating Russia’s participation in the Treaty, Xinhua news agency quoted the government as saying on Wednesday.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced on January 15 that the country had started domestic procedures for the pullout from the Treaty on Open Skies, following Washington’s decision to withdraw.
The Ministry criticised the US withdrawal on November 22, 2020 “under an artificial pretext” for essentially destroying the balance of interests, severely damaging the Treaty’s functioning, and undermining its role as a confidence and security building measure.
The multilateral Treaty on Open Skies, which became effective in 2002, allows its 34 state-parties to conduct short-notice, unarmed reconnaissance flights over the others’ entire territories to collect data on military forces and activities.
The US and Russia have blamed each other for non-compliance with the treaty.
The treaty is aimed at building confidence and familiarity among state parties through their participation in the overflights.
By 2019, over 1,500 Open Skies flights have been conducted since the deal entered into force, according to media reports.