The United States has declared its intention to leave the Open Skies Treaty, which is intended to reduce the risk of war by allowing Russia and western nations to conduct observation flights over each other’s territory.
“I think we have a very good relationship with Russia, but Russia didn’t adhere to the treaty, and so until they adhere to the treaty, we will pull out,” Donald Trump told reporters. “There’s a very good chance we’ll make a new agreement or do something to put that agreement back together,” Trump added.
Washington informed the other 33 parties to the treaty of its intention to deliver a formal six-month notice of withdrawal on Friday, accusing Russia of violations. US partners were informed of the decision on Thursday with calls from the national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, the defense secretary, Mark Esper and the Pentagon’s acting undersecretary for policy, James Anderson.
In a written statement, the secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the US could reconsider its withdrawal during the six month notice period “should Russia return to full compliance with the Treaty”. Moscow denies being in violation of the agreement.
“Realize the Russians were cheating,” Tim Morrison, who was briefly the top arms control official in the Trump White House, said on Twitter. “They were misusing the treaty against the US, as senior military and civilian leaders warned. Withdrawing denies Putin a collection tool and this is not a win for him.”
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