MOSCOW, May 22. /TASS/. The US embassy in Moscow forwarded an official note about Washington’s decision to initiate the procedure of withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov announced Friday, during the online discussion on Russian-American relations, organized by the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund.
"We at the Foreign Ministry received the official note from the US embassy, which says that the US government made a decision to initiate the procedure of withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies," Ryabkov said.
According to him, since the United States is unwilling to take Russia’s position into account, the exchange of documents between the two countries is one of the most effective channels of communication.
US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that Washington intended to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies, which allows member states to conduct surveillance flights over one another's territories in order to verify arms control agreements implementation. The US authorities cited Russia’s alleged violations of the treaty to justify their decision. Moscow has repeatedly rejected such allegations. In particular, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Vladimir Yermakov stressed that US attempts to pass off the withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty as a response to Russia’s violations were completely groundless.
Use of outer space for combat operations
Washington is consistently gearing up for expanding the use of outer space for combat operations, the diplomat believes.
"The United States is consistently preparing for expanding the use of outer space for the purposes of combat operations. Seeking to keep its hands free, Washington stands against the idea put forward by Russia jointly with China to work out a treaty on preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space," the deputy foreign minister pointed out.
The US Space Force was officially set up on December 20, 2019 after US President Donald Trump signed the 2020 defense spending plan. The US Space Force has become the sixth armed service branch and the first armed service established after the US Army's existing structure was formed in 1947. The Washington administration stated on many occasions that the United States should view outer space as a potential theater of military operations.
As Russian President Vladimir Putin said, such US position requires enhanced attention to strengthening Russia’s orbital satellite grouping and the space rocket industry as a whole. As the Russian leader stressed, Russia stood against outer space militarization and continues to stand against it.