Russia withdraws from Open Skies

RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 16 Jan 2021 by Alex Teddy

On January 16 Moscow announced that it is no longer bound by the Open Skies Treaty. The United States withdrew from it in 2020. The US and Russia have been exchanging accusations of breaching the treaty for years. Russia forbade flights over Kaliningrad.US allies in Europe wanted to maintain the treaty. Over 20 nations are signatories.Russia had hoped to preserve the treaty but the US does not appear to be amenable to coming back into it.Open Skies permitted signatories to fly unarmed planes over each others' territory to verify that no hostile troop buildups are underway. Sensors take images of the other nation's territory. All images are then shared with signatory states.Certain types of planes were not allowed to conduct overflights. Flights can only be conducted with 72 hours' notice. Crew of the observing and the observed country would be on the same plane.

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