Putin submits bill to lower house on denouncing Open Skies Treaty

Vladimir Putin

© APA | Vladimir Putin

# 11 May 2021 11:08 (UTC +04:00)

Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted a bill to the State Duma on denouncing the Treaty on Open Skies, according to the lower house’s database, APA reports citing TASS.

"To denounce the Treaty on Open Skies signed in the city of Helsinki on March 24,1992," the document said. An explanatory note says that the Treaty "contributed to significantly building trust in the military field." Russia made a great contribution to its implementation and every year hosted and carried out the biggest number of observation flights and was the first to create and start using digital surveillance equipment.

"On November 22, 2020 the US used a far-fetched pretext to leave the Treaty, thus significantly disrupting the balance of interests of the parties to the Treaty achieved when it was signed. Thus, a serious damage was dealt to observing the Treaty and its significance in building trust and transparency, and a threat to Russia’s national security emerged. Amid these circumstances, a decision was made on launching inter-state procedures on Russia’s withdrawal from the Treaty," the explanatory note reads. The Russian government has approved the bill.

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.

On May 5, the Russian government passed a resolution approving termination of the Treaty and referred this proposal to the president. On May 9, Putin appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov as his official envoy to the Federal Assembly, or Russia’s national bicameral parliament, on issues of the denunciation of 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.