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Putin, Biden may deliberate over Open Skies deal, but time is running out, says Kremlin

Earlier, Russian President submitted a bill to the State Duma on denouncing the Open Skies Treaty

MOSCOW, May 27. /TASS/. Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Joe Biden of the United States are likely to discuss the Treaty on Open Skies at their Geneva summit but since Russia is about to wrap up the denunciation procedures, the US has little time left to review its earlier decisions on pulling out, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.

"Perhaps, somehow this issue [the Treaty on Open Skies] may be touched upon. Time is running out or should I say shrinking like the Skin of Shagreen [La Peau de chagrin, a novel by French writer Honore de Balzac] and we are fulfilling the procedures on [denouncing the Treaty on Open Skies] and they will be soon completed, so there is little time left for Washington to review its earlier made decisions," Peskov cautioned, when answering a question if Russia planned to offer the US a chance to return to the Open Skies Treaty at the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted a bill to the State Duma (the lower house of parliament) on denouncing the Open Skies Treaty. In practical terms, this document enables the participating countries to carry out flights over each other's territory to monitor military activity in accordance with the agreed quotas of monitoring missions. The treaty establishes the rules of flights and a mechanism of verifying compliance with its provisions and contains the requirements the planes involved must meet, as well as restrictions on the structure and technical parameters of monitoring instruments.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced on January 15 that Moscow had launched internal state procedures for exiting the Treaty on Open Skies. The Russian diplomatic agency explained the move by the absence of progress in removing obstacles for the Treaty’s continuation in new conditions after the US quit it in November 2020. The US Department of State stated in April that Washington had not decided yet on rejoining the Open Skies Treaty.

For years, Washington had been accusing Moscow of exercising a selective approach to implementing the Open Skies Treaty and violating a number of its provisions. Russia had been laying counterclaims on the Treaty’s implementation.