Break all contracts: Trump will close the sky for Russia

US President Donald Trump has signed a document on the US intention to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty (DON), according to American media. According to sources, a final decision has not yet been made.

Break all contracts: Trump will close the sky for Russia

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is taking steps to terminate the 1992 Open Skies Treaty (DON), which has helped reduce the risk of war between Russia and the West for nearly three decades, writes The Wall Street Journal, an American business newspaper.

According to the document, the parties could conduct reconnaissance flights over each other's territories. Now the intentions of the head of the White House, apparently,

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will mark another step towards dismantling the arms control system after the end of the Cold War, which has already suffered from the termination of the Intermediate-Range Missile Treaty and an uncertain fate awaiting the US-Russia Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty, which is expiring in the year 2021.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking of Washington’s possible withdrawal from the Don, said that “it will be sad.”

At the same time, the White House will not yet answer questions about the decision to withdraw from the open skies agreement. A Trump administration official noted that discussions are ongoing at this stage. “Everything is possible with this president,” said one senior US official.

States allied to the United States, including Ukraine, insist on maintaining the Treaty, which was developed in order to increase confidence that its participants are not planning an act of aggression against each other. US partners argue that any disputes over Russia's compliance with the Treaty should be resolved through negotiations.

“The Open Skies Treaty is one of the main international treaties in the field of European security and arms control,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Ukraine is interested in maintaining and implementing this agreement.”

Critics of DON in the Trump administration claim that Russia intervened in US observation flights, using its missions to collect intelligence in the United States.

According to other officials of the US administration, Moscow allegedly did not allow the United States and Canada to fly in the area of ​​military exercises in central Russia on September 20.

According to a U.S. report, Russian officials said the airspace on that day was closed due to the exercises and trips of important Russian government officials in the area. US officials, in turn, report that Washington was trying to adjust its flight plan.

“We have fully complied with and continue to fulfil our obligations under the Open Skies Treaty, unlike Russia,” said Donald Trump’s administration spokesman. However, he refused to discuss the possible future of DON.

The Russian embassy in the United States did not respond to a request for relevant comments, but earlier Russian officials emphasized that they were fully complying with the agreement and accused the United States that it had jeopardized this agreement, writes WSJ.

The origins of the Open Skies Treaty can be traced back to 1955 when President Dwight Eisenhower invited both sides to conduct missions to monitor each other's territories. This idea in those days did not lead to any agreement.

When the Cold War came to an end, the administration of US President George W. Bush entered into an Open Skies Treaty between former adversaries. 34 countries joined the agreement, including the USA, Canada, European countries, Russia and Ukraine.

When the Cold War came to an end, the administration of US President George W. Bush entered into an Open Skies Treaty between former adversaries. 34 countries joined the agreement, including the USA, Canada, European countries, Russia and Ukraine.

In May 2018, then-Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis wrote to the U.S. Congress that it was “in the interests of our country” to remain under the Open Skies Treaty, despite alleged violations by Russia.

In December 2018, the U.S. carried out a Don flight over eastern Ukraine shortly after an incident in the Black Sea related to an attempt by Ukrainian vessels to pass through the Kerch Strait without coordination with Moscow.

According to the Pentagon, this flight was requested by Ukraine. Onboard were Ukrainian, British, Romanian, German, French and Canadian observers who stated that they intend to confirm their commitment to the security of Ukraine.

Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton, however, was sceptical of arms control agreements, disputing Russia's demands for compliance. Before leaving his post, he urged Trump to sign a document signalling the US intention to withdraw from previous agreements. This was said by two US officials.

Under the Open Skies Treaty, a country that wants to withdraw from it must provide formal notice to other DON participants at least six months in advance.

In a debate in the US, DON supporters argue that there are ways to respond to alleged Russian violations. And for this, it is not necessary to withdraw from the contract. In particular, it is possible to limit Russian flights through the United States.

The US State Department in its August report recalled that in 2014 Russia set limits on the depth of penetration of US aircraft into the “heavily militarized Kaliningrad exclave.”

In response to Russia's introduction of restrictions on flights over Kaliningrad, U.S. officials in 2017 announced restrictions on the passage of Russian aircraft over Hawaii and restricted Moscow aircraft to access certain US bases.

The Open Skies Treaty was sceptical of some officials from the US intelligence community who claim that the DON allowed Russia to fill in the gaps in its information about US national security infrastructure.

“In any treaty or agreement, it is important that all parties comply with it,” said Vice Admiral Charles Richard (Donald Trump's candidacy for the post of head of the strategic command of the US armed forces) in the Senate Committee on Armed Forces. “We benefit from this, especially with our allies,” he added.

Eliot Engel (New York State Democrat), who chairs the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, sent Bolton's successor Robert O'Brien a letter dated October 7 stating that

leaving the Don will deprive the United States of a tool for monitoring the deployment of units and formations of the Russian Armed Forces, and most importantly, emerging changes in the Russian army.

According to Engel, despite concerns about Russia's compliance with the DON requirements, Moscow’s derogations from the provisions of the document “do not reach the level of a significant violation of the Treaty, which is a potential reason for the US to withdraw from the DON.”

O'Brien has not yet responded to the letter, said his assistant in the US Congress.

"The intention of US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty suggests that Washington plans to abandon all previously concluded treaties that have contributed to both arms control and addressing emerging concerns."

- told "" Deputy Director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Konstantin Makienko.

According to the expert, the steps of the United States are clearly aimed at scrapping the entire existing security system. At the same time, the Americans offer virtually nothing in return. Such a policy will only contribute to the growth of international tension, Konstantin Makienko believes.

The Treaty on Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles expired on August 2. The United States and Russia refused to renegotiate the treaty, blaming it on each other. The future of the Strategic Offensive Arms Limitation Treaty (which expires in February 2021) is now in question. There is every reason to believe that Washington is preparing to abandon the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

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