Russia announces exit from Open Skies treaty after U.S. withdrawal
The agreement allows participants to make observation flights over each other’s territories, photographing military facilities and events
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper accused Russia of violating the Open Skies Treaty, which was concluded with the expectation of increasing transparency and building confidence between the armed forces of the two superpowers.
Speaking at a congressional hearing, Esper said Russia has banned the United States from flying over Kaliningrad and near Georgia, which is permissible under an agreement concluded 18 years ago..
“We were also denied permission to fly over military exercise areas,” he said. – I am worried about a lot in the situation with the contract at the moment “.
The agreement, which was signed by another 32 countries, allows the military of one state to make a certain number of observation flights over the territory of another soon after notification..
The aircraft can inspect the area below it, collecting information and photographing military objects and events.
The idea is that the more rival military forces know about each other, the less likely a conflict will arise..
Esper said he raised the issue at a meeting with NATO defense ministers in February..
“It is important for many of our NATO allies to have the funds to fly,” he said..
The Pentagon is using two old OC-135 aircraft for observation flights, and Esper has acknowledged the need for modernization, although the Pentagon has not reserved funds for this..
“At the moment, until we make a final decision on what to do next, I am not ready to invest additional funds in these aircraft,” he said..
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