MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. Russia adhered to the Treaty on Open Skies despite blatant violations of it from the side of Washington, and after the US withdrew from the agreement, it put in maximum effort to save it, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman said in a statement published on Friday.
She noted that after the US withdrew from the treaty, the trend towards the destruction of the agreement "acquired an irreversible nature." "However, even under these conditions, the Russian Federation put in maximum effort to save the treaty and offered the remaining member states to provide strong guarantees of adherence to their obligations to not hand over data received during observation flights over Russian territory to the Americans," Zakharova said.
"We started working hard with our partners on regulating Russian concerns. We expected a constructive approach of Western states, who loudly declared their commitment to the Treaty on Open Skies. However, political orientation towards the US ended up more important to them than maintaining an important instrument of pan-European security," she noted.
"They avoided answering directly, stressing that the corresponding obligations already form part of the treaty itself, and offered to continue discussing this within the working bodies of the Treaty on Open Skies," she explained. "All this looks like artificial stalling of discussing the matter in a situation when, according to our information coming from various sources, during contacts with its European allies, Washington demanded that they take on an obligation to share monitoring data over the Russian territory with the Americans."
The spokeswoman stressed that the current situation is unacceptable. "Taking into account the aforementioned circumstances, the country’s leadership decided to launch domestic procedures to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies," the diplomat concluded.
On January 15, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Russia is launching domestic procedures to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies. Once the procedures are completed, notifications will be sent to the treaty depositories, the ministry said.
Washington for years blamed Moscow for selectively implementing the Treaty on Open Skies and violating a number of its provisions. Russia, in turn, expressed grievances related to Washington’s implementation of the treaty. In 2017, Washington imposed restrictions on Russian observation flights over US territory, triggering a tit-for-tat response from Moscow. The US pulled out of the Treaty on Open Skies on November 22, 2020.