MOSCOW, October 28. /TASS/. Washington’s potential withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty could become a sad turn of events, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Monday.
"I have only read what you have read [about the US potential withdrawal from the treaty]. This [pullout] would be sad," Lavrov noted.
The Wall Street Journal reported on October 27 that US President Donald Trump had signed a document that allegedly specified the Washington administration’s plans to pull out of the Treaty on Open Skies. The newspaper’s sources said however that it was not a final decision and consultations were still underway.
The multilateral Treaty on Open Skies was inked in Helsinki on March 24, 1992, by 23 member states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and entered into force on January 1, 2002. The accord includes 34 countries, among them, most NATO members, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sweden and Finland. Moscow had an active role in drawing up the document. Russia ratified the Treaty on May 26, 2001.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Treaty is an important tool for building confidence and security. The document (along with the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) and the 1999 Vienna Document) helped build confidence and transparency in the sphere of conventional weapons in the Euro-Atlantic region.