As with many pacts made during the Cold War, the Open Skies Treaty may well be reaching its sunset.
Envisioned by President Dwight Eisenhower and put into place by President George H.W. Bush, the Open Skies treaty signed by the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, among other nations, allowed short term, unarmed reconnaissance flights over the signatory nations by other signatories.
In his last year in office, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the treaty. This week, another signatory withdrew more or less making the treaty a shell of what it was meant to be.
The treaty – dubbed Open Skies – had allowed signatories to make short-notice, unarmed observation flights over other countries that had signed up to the pact, including over military bases.
Russia’s withdrawal will take effect in six months. The US completed its withdrawal in November last year…
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said last week that Open Skies is unlikely to feature since the US has made its position on the pact ‘clear’.
The Open Skies Treaty is one of several cold war leftovers President Trump discontinued during his first term. Russia has signaled a willingness to renegotiate some of them, but will not do so until a summit later in the year between Putin and Joe Biden to attempt to be on the same page as a starting place.
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