The Trump administration has withdrawn from the Open Skies Treaty with Russia, officials said early Sunday.
“On 22 May 2020, the United States exercised its right under Article XV, paragraph 2, of the Open Skies Treaty by giving the Depositaries of the Treaty and all States Parties a decision to withdraw from the Treaty, in force six months after the date of notification, “State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Cale Brown said in a statement.
“After six months, the withdrawal of the United States came into force on November 22, 2020, and the United States is no longer a party to the Open Skies Treaty,” Brown added.
The post-Cold War agreement was reached to allow nations to overlay other allies in an attempt to gather military and other intelligence on neighboring foreign enemies.
President Trumpthe desire to leave the contract was first announced in May.
“While the United States, along with our allies and partners who have been parties to the treaty, have fulfilled our commitments and obligations under the treaty, Russia has been grossly and persistently violating the treaty in various ways for years,” he said. Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard Pompeo Tibetan political leader visits White House for first time in six decades At least 8 killed, 30 wounded in Kabul rocket attack The Mor’s Morning Report – Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington – Pence, tugboat Biden at war over pandemic plans MORE said at the time. “This is not a story that only applies to the Open Skies Treaty, unfortunately, as Russia is a serial violator of many of its arms control obligations and commitments.”
In June, Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee questioned the legitimacy of the Trump administration’s desire to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty.
“The timing of your decision – less than five months before the election – is also suspicious. “Beginning the withdrawal of the United States from the Open Skies Treaty without complying with US domestic law or constitutional practice is an obvious political maneuver in an attempt to bind a future administration,” senators wrote in a letter to Pompeo and a former defense minister. Mark EsperMark Esper The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington – Trump, Biden clash over disruption of transition, pandemic plans President’s wild card as growing fears grow Trump seeks to settle results in recent days MORE. “As such, we urge you to immediately end your efforts to begin the withdrawal process until the necessary notification is provided to Congress in accordance with [National Defense Authorization Act]and the Senate had the opportunity to consider the withdrawal. “
During their first term, Trump and his allies boasted that they had been tougher on Russia in recent years than any previous administration, despite allegations of inadequate friendly relations between the president and his Russian counterpart.
In August, the Trump administration withdrew from the Medium-Range Nuclear Force (INF) treaty with Russia, an agreement to ban nuclear and conventional ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, signed in 1987.
At the time, the administration accused Russia of violating the terms of the treaty after saying that US officials had “tried everything possible since May 2013” to stop Russia from building its nuclear capacity.
– Updated at 9:29 a.m.