Trump Administration Withdraws from Open Skies Treaty, Citing Russian Noncompliance

FILE - In this June 28, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin walk to participate in a group photo at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The Trump administration is notifying international partners that it is pulling out of a treaty that permits 30-plus nations …
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The Trump administration announced Thursday it was withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty, citing Russian noncompliance.

The Open Skies Treaty, which entered into effect in 2002, allows for the U.S. and Russia to fly surveillance aircraft over each others’ territory, in order to increase transparency.

However, administration officials say Russia has repeatedly violated the treaty by refusing to allow certain U.S. fights over territory claimed by Moscow.

President Trump told reporters that the U.S. would no longer be a part of the treaty until Russia complied.

“Russia and us have developed a very good relationship. As you know, we worked on the oil problem together. I think we have a very good relationship with Russia. But Russia didn’t adhere to the treaty, so until they adhere, we will pull out,” he said.

However, he expressed optimism that the U.S. and Russia could work something out. He said:”There’s a very good chance we’ll make a new agreement or do something to put that agreement back together. When you have an agreement, and the other side doesn’t adhere to the agreement, we’re not going to adhere to it either. But I think something very positive will work out.

The U.S.’s withdrawal would be effective six months from its notification to withdraw, planned for Friday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. would reconsider withdrawing if Russia returned to full compliance and allowed U.S. flights over Russian-occupied Georgian regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Democrats argued the withdrawal hurt international stability and that the treaty was crucial to arms control with Russia. The treaty was intended to allow the former Cold War rivals U.S. and Russia to deescalate tensions. The treaty includes 34 countries, including U.S. allies in Europe.

Former Obama CIA Director Air Force Gen. (Ret.) Michael Hayden tweeted “This is insane. I was the director of CIA.”

But some experts argued that allowing Russia to cheat was not bringing stability and peace.

Rebeccah Heinrichs, senior fellow at Hudson Institute tweeted:

Giving the Russians what they want tho it’s not in our interests, looking the other way when they cheat, begging them to comply when they don’t even admit to cheating, etc has not brought stability and peace. And yet there are a whole lot of ppl that think that’s what we shld do.

She added:

And what’s especially interesting is the ppl mad about Trump refusing to do this have been accusing him of being a Russian stooge for nearly four years. They’ve been making Russia’s arguments on this site all day. Those Russian trolls got to take the day off.


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