15 Jan 2021 14:49

Russia initiates procedure to withdraw from Open Skies Treaty - Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. Jan 15 (Interfax) - Russia is initiating the procedure to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

"Due to a lack of progress in removing impediments to the further functioning of the treaty under the new circumstances, the Russian Foreign Ministry has been authorized to declare the initiation of domestic state procedures toward the withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the Open Skies Treaty. The relevant notice will be sent to the depositaries upon their completion," the statement said.

The United States quit the Open Skies Treaty last year "under a far-fetched pretext," the statement said. "This action resulted in a substantial disruption of the balance of interests of the participatory states established by the conclusion of the treaty, the treaty's validity was seriously damaged, and the role of the Open Skies Treaty as an instrument building confidence and security was undermined," it said.

"The Russian side put forward specific proposals in compliance with the fundamental provisions of the treaty in order to maintain its viability under the new circumstances. We regret to say that we have not received support from our U.S. allies," the statement said.

The United States quit the treaty last year, which raised the question of Russia's further participation: Moscow demands guarantees from European countries that they will not share data obtained in the course of flights over Russian territory with the United States, and Europe believes that this provision is already included in the Open Skies Treaty and does not require additional regulation.