VIENNA, February 22. /TASS/. Russia may complete intra-state procedures for withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty by the summer of 2021, Head of the Russian delegation at Vienna talks on military security and arms control Konstantin Gavrilov said at a session of the Open Skies Consultative Commission on Monday.
"The intra-state procedures for Russia’s pullout from the treaty continue. In our estimates, they may be completed by the summer of this year. If the United States does not inform us before that time about its readiness to return to the treaty framework, Russia will deliver a note to Hungary and Canada as depository countries, notifying about its withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies," the envoy said in a statement.
"This will commence a six-month term defined by the treaty and preceding the moment of our official and final termination of participation in it," the statement says.
As before, Russia remains committed to the fundamental goal of building confidence and security in the military sphere, the envoy said.
"In this context, if the new US administration makes a decision on fully returning to the Treaty on Open Skies, our country will naturally be ready to consider this situation constructively. We count on the common sense and real steps by participating states, especially those that are NATO members, for preserving the treaty," the high-ranking Russian diplomat stressed.
The Russian envoy also noted that the minimum requirements put forward by Russia for keeping the treaty’s functionality were left without a constructive answer from the remaining participating states.
As the Russian senior diplomat emphasized, Russia will not wait endlessly until the US makes up its mind on its readiness to return to the Open Skies Treaty.
"Our internal work continues every day. Little time is left for considerations," he said.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on January 15 that Moscow was beginning internal procedures for the pullout from the Open Skies Treaty due to a lack of progress in eliminating obstacles to the further functioning of this treaty in new conditions, i.e. after the US withdrawal from it. Upon the completion of these procedures, a corresponding notification will be sent to the treaty’s depository countries.
Washington was accusing Russia of selective compliance with the treaty and violation of a number of the treaty clauses for several years. Russia has its own complaints to Washington regarding the treaty’s implementation. The US pulled out from the Open Skies Treaty on November 22, 2020.