WASHINGTON, September 27. /TASS/. The US government will take "reasonable and comparable" measures regarding Russia’s alleged non-compliance with the Open Skies Treaty, a US Department of State official told TASS on Tuesday.
"·We have long had concerns about Russia’s implementation of the Open Skies Treaty. After repeated, unsuccessful attempts to engage Moscow diplomatically, we have elected to take some reasonable and comparable steps in response to Russia’s non-compliance," the official said.
"We hope this will change Russia’s calculus and encourage Russia to engage with us about our concerns more constructively," the official went on. "We’re ready to reverse these measures at any time, should Russia come back into compliance with its Open Skies Treaty obligations.·"
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford said earlier on Tuesday that keeping the treaty in force would benefit the United States.
The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday said the US authorities were going to impose restrictions on flights by Russian military aircraft over the territory of the United States. The daily said Washington had made the decision in retaliation for Russia’s restrictions on flights over the Kaliningrad Region. According to the newspaper, the restrictions may apply to monitoring flights over Alaska and Hawaii.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting on the report, that any controversies that may arise in the process of implementing the Treaty on Open Skies must be settled in compliance with the commitments made by the signatories. "There is hardly any room for interpretations," he said. The Treaty on Open Skies is to be strictly followed."
The Treaty on Open Skies, concluded in Helsinki on March 24, 1992, enables the signatories to dispatch planes to fly over each other’s territories to monitor military activities in accordance with the agreed and coordinated quotas of observer missions. The Consultative Commission established under the treaty makes mandatory consensus decisions.