Donald Trump believes that Russia is not respecting this treaty, which allows military movements and arms limitation measures to be verified.
Warning shot on the international scene. US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday May 21 the US withdrawal of the Open Skies treaty, which checks military movements and arms limitation measures of the signatory countries, accusing Russia of violating it. It is the third international agreement from which the American president decides to withdraw the United States, after the treaty on the Iranian nuclear program, denounced in 2018 and the INF treaty on the medium-range land missiles, abandoned in 2019.
“Russia has not respected the treaty”said the President to the press in the White House gardens. “So as long as they don’t respect it, we will withdraw”, he added. Donald Trump did not close the door to a renegotiation of this treaty signed by 34 countries and entered into force in 2002. “I think what will happen is that we will withdraw and they will come back and ask to negotiate a deal”, he said.
In a statement, chief diplomat Mike Pompeo said Washington will officially inform the signatories of the treaty of their decision on Friday, which will open a period of six months before the final withdrawal of the United States from the agreement. Moscow deplored the American decision. “The withdrawal of the United States from this treaty means not only a blow to the foundation of European security but also to existing military security instruments and to the essential security interests of the very allies of the United States”said Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Grushko, quoted by Russian agencies.
“Nothing prevented us from continuing to discuss these technical questions which the United States presents today as alleged violations by Russia”he added, accusing Washington of scuttling the‘”instrument which has served the interests of the maintenance of peace and security in Europe for the past 20 years”.
Among the violations denounced by Washington, a Pentagon spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman, cited a ban on Allied planes from approaching more than 500 km from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, located between Lithuania and Poland, and to cross the border between Russia and Georgia by 10 km. “We are fulfilling our treaty obligations, but in this era of competition between major powers, we are seeking agreements that benefit all parties and which all signatories meet their obligations”added Hoffman during a press briefing. NATO, whose member states are signatories to the Open Skies treaty, will hold an emergency meeting on this subject on Friday.