- Russia to withdraw from the Open Sky Treaty and send out notices to the members next week.
- The US withdrew from the Open Sky Treaty last year.
- Russia failed to get assurances from the EU.
The Russian government decided to withdraw from the Open Sky Treaty. The Open Sky Treaty is an important tool for the intelligence gathering purposes by the signatory nations, which include military inspections from the air. The Treaty was signed in Finland in the 1992 by the 27 members.
Currently, there are 33 member States, which include Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom.
The US withdrew from the Treaty last year under the direction of the Donald Trump. Russia and Belarus are in the same group under the Open Sky Treaty. Therefore, the question ponders, if Alexander Lukashenko will follow the Russian lead.
Furthermore, Russia expected to send out the notifications to the partner nations pertaining the withdrawal next week. It should be noted, if the decision will not change, it will come into full force within 6 months.
Moreover, the decision to withdraw from the Treaty was made based on the fact that the EU member nations failed to provide assurances to the Kremlin pertaining sharing intelligence gathered in the Russian sky with the US.
The signatory Parties to the Convention have the right to designate one or more types or models of an unarmed aircraft as surveillance aircraft.
In this case, the surveillance aircraft is examined to confirm that the aircraft and its surveillance equipment meets the requirements of the contract. NATO countries do not perform observation flights over each other’s territories.
Additionally, Russia wanted a guarantee that US will not use the EU as a proxy to gather intelligence on Russia, Since US withdrew from the Treaty, Russia lost access to the US airspace for the intelligence gathering purposes.
The decision was made by the Russian president Vladimir Putin, after consulting with the Russian military and intelligence officials.
Russian President Vladimir Putin held an annual press conference in December 2020. During the question period, the inquiry pertaining the Open Sky Treaty was made.
Putin stated: “The United States has withdrawn from the Open Skies Treaty. What should we do? Leave it as it is? So, you, as a NATO country, will fly over us and transfer everything to the American partners, and we will be deprived of such opportunity in the relation to American territory? You’re smart people, why do you think we’re jerks? Why do you think that we can’t analyze such elementary things?”
Hence, without assurances from the EU, Russia is ready to withdraw from the treaty. Clearly, the understanding can’t be reached between Russia and the EU.
Overall, it would be imperative to watch, what type of relationship will the newly elected US president Joe Biden establish with Russia. It is plausible, his interest in the Ukraine would mean a hostile relationship with Russia. Nevertheless, it is highly likely, It will be more regimented, in comparison to his predecessor Donald Trump.