Russia officially withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty on Saturday, allowing observation flights over military facilities with the entry into force of the law.
Russia announced in June that it would withdraw from the agreement. The administration of US President Joe Biden informed Moscow in May that the US did not plan to rejoin the Open Skies Treaty, from which the administration of former President Donald Trump had withdrawn last year.
The Open Skies Agreement, signed in 1992, entered into force in 2002 and covered more than 30 member states in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian area, including the United States and Russia. The aim of the agreement is to facilitate the exchange of information in order to increase confidence and prevent the emergence of a new arms race.
The agreement provides for the possibility of observation and photography flights over the territories of its member states in order to obtain information on their armed forces, military facilities and activities.
According to the idea of a treaty, the more competing armies know about each other, the less likely they are to get into conflict with each other. But countries are also using these flights to explore the weaknesses of their opponents.
The member states of the agreement have conducted more than 1,500 observation flights since 2002.
The United States withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty last year. Trump justified its actions on the grounds that Moscow was in breach of the agreement.
In response to the US withdrawal, Russia also announced that it would withdraw from the agreement, but suggested that it could remain a party to the agreement if the US rejoined the agreement.
Russia has denied any breach of the agreement and hoped that Biden would reverse Trump’s decision. However, the Baiden administration has also accused Moscow of violating the treaty.