Moscow, Russia | XINHUA | Russia will take retaliatory measures if there are attempts to limit its rights under the Treaty on Open Skies, after the United States decided to withdraw from the deal, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
“No scenarios are excluded,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the treaty pullout would damage the image of the United States as a reliable partner.
On Monday, an online conference of the treaty member states was held to consider the consequences of the U.S. withdrawal.
According to the Russian statement, most participants noted the importance of the treaty for European security and the need to maintain it, and expressed regret over the U.S. pullout and hope that this decision will be reviewed.
Many participants emphasized the need to resolve the problem of compliance with the treaty at the negotiating table, and expressed their support for the ongoing work in this direction alongside their readiness to actively participate in it, the ministry said.
It is obvious that the partners are aware of the negative consequences of Washington’s withdrawal from the treaty, it said.
At the same time, they have not yet shown willingness to take responsibility for the fate of the treaty and engage in truly serious dialogue with Russia in order to address mutual concerns, it said.
Russia will continuously assess the partners’ readiness to fully comply with their obligations under the treaty and seek mutually acceptable solutions to emerging problems, the ministry added.
In May, U.S. President Donald Trump said his country was withdrawing from the treaty, the latest move to abandon a major international arms control agreement.
Trump accused Russia of not adhering to the treaty, which Moscow has repeatedly denied.
The treaty, which became effective in 2002, allows members to conduct unarmed reconnaissance flights over each other’s territories to collect data on military activities.
It is aimed at building confidence and familiarity among states-parties through their participation in the overflights.
Currently, 35 nations, including Russia, the United States, and some other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, have signed it. But Kyrgyzstan, which signed the treaty, has not yet ratified it.