Foreign Ministry Comment on Russia's Decision to Withdraw from Treaty on Open Skies
18 January 2021 17:53

On January 15, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation announced it began the procedure for Russia's withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies (OST).

Russia was flagrantly violating the OST in 2009-2020, including by reducing the area of its coverage due to Russia’s occupation of parts of the territories of Ukraine and Georgia.

Ukraine has repeatedly been calling on Russia to stop violating the Treaty and restore its coverage over the whole sovereign territory of Ukraine.

We consider this decision yet another example of Russia's foreign policy aiming to dismantle European security architecture, disrupt international arms control regimes and undermine the fundamental norms and principles of international law.

The OST remains an important legally binding international arms control Treaty that ensures transparency between states parties through areal observation flights over each other’s territory.

In 2015-2020, Ukraine conducted 50 observation flights, hosted 53 observation missions, including a US regular mission (on December 5-7, 2018) consisting of a multinational team of observers from the United States, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Romania in order to de-escalate the situation due to the armed attack by the Russian Navy and Air Force on a vessels group of the Ukrainian Navy in the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018.

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