United States blames Russia and withdraws from 34-nation Open Skies Treaty

Washington: – The United States has withdrawn from the ‘Open Skies Treaty’, having the participation of 35 countries, including Russia. Six months ago, US President Donald Trump had made an announcement in this respect. The United States justified the withdrawal, accusing Russia of violating the agreement. Before this, the United States has also withdrawn from the START-1 agreement with Russia. On 21st May this year, US President Trump announced withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty. The members of ‘Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’ (OSCE), made this agreement, in Helsinki, in the year 1992. As per the OSCE agreement, with participation from almost all the countries from Europe, including Russia, the signatory countries have permission to enter into any members’ airspace to carry out surveillance of the sensitive locations.   


The permission is for the use of surveillance or uncrewed aircraft. Using this treaty, Russia inspected the controversial Area 51 military base, in April this year. Whereas, even the US planes had carried out patrolling in the Russian airspace. But the United States is accusing Russia of violating the said treaty. The United States complained that Russia is distorting the provisions in the treaty to violate the airspaces of other countries.   

Against this background, six months ago, the United States announced withdrawal from the said treaty. On Sunday, 22nd November, the United States formally withdrew from the treaty. The European countries had criticised this US decision. The European countries expressed concerns that the US withdrawal will create threats for the security of European countries.  

Russia also accused the United States of violating the treaty. Following this US withdrawal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appealed that the concerned countries should refuse to handover ‘Flight Data’ to the United States. The United Kingdom, France and Germany had supported the Russian stand. It is being claimed that following the withdrawal from the treaty, the United States will have to seek permission from every country if it intends to carry out surveillance in that country. The member countries have claimed that there are transparent operations between the member countries, because of the agreement.   

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