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Putin, Biden unlikely to discuss Treaty on Open Skies, says senior Russian diplomat

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov emphasized that neither Washington nor its allies were concerned about the treaty’s fate

MOSCOW, May 28. /TASS/. Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Joe Biden of the United States are unlikely to discuss issues related to the Treaty on Open Skies at their upcoming meeting, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS on Friday.

"I don’t think the issue is relevant at the moment," he noted. "Before discussing any future architecture or alternative systems, we need to provide our colleagues with the opportunity to revise their position. If they fail to deeply and fundamentally reconsider their erroneous approach to European security, it will simply be impossible to talk about changing Europe’s security architecture and tensions will persist… which is not what we want", Ryabkov pointed out.

According to him, all this time, Moscow has been proposing to Washington to employ an alternative option based on compromises and reasonable solutions. "We made another attempt to reach an agreement following the meeting between [Russian Foreign] Minister [Sergey] Lavrov and [US] Secretary of State [Antony Blinken], just a short while ago. However, nothing has worked out", Ryabkov maintained, adding that the US was fully responsible for the developments around the Treaty on Open Skies.

The Russian deputy foreign minister emphasized that neither Washington nor its allies were concerned about the treaty’s fate. "Everyone is concerned about depicting Russia in a bad light. They are engaged in empty rhetoric instead of doing their job," the diplomat insisted. "It won’t work. We have documents and facts to show how things were unfolding", Ryabkov stressed.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced on January 15 that Moscow was launching domestic procedures to pull out of the Treaty on Open Skies, citing the lack of progress in removing obstacles to the accord’s continued function following Washington’s withdrawal in November 2020. The US Department of State said in April that the American authorities had not yet made a final decision on rejoining the treaty. For years, Washington had been accusing Moscow of exercising a selective approach to implementing the Open Skies accord and violating a number of its provisions. Russia had been laying counterclaims against the US on the deal’s implementation as well.