Russia hopes remaining parties of Open Skies Treaty meet commitments

Moscow will seek firm guarantees that the states remaining in the Treaty on Open Skies fulfill their obligations, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Sunday in connection with the U.S. withdrawal from the treaty.

“After withdrawing from the Treaty on Open Skies, the U.S. side expects that its allies, on the one hand, will hinder Russian observation flights above U.S. military facilities in Europe, and, on the other hand, share with Washington their photographic materials of Russian territory,” it said in a statement.

“Of course, this is unacceptable for Russia,” it added.

“We will seek firm guarantees that the states remaining in the Treaty on Open Skies will fulfill their obligations, firstly, on ensuring the possibility of observing their entire territory and, secondly, on ensuring that the materials of observation flights will not be transferred to third countries that are not participants of the treaty,” it said.

If other participants really want the treaty to continue to operate, and Russia remains a member state of the treaty, then they should, without delay, seriously think about what should be done to allay Russian concerns, the ministry added.

The treaty, which became effective in 2002, allows its states-parties to conduct short-notice, unarmed reconnaissance flights over the others’ entire territories to collect data on military forces and activities.