The United States has put an end to its cooperation with the Open Skies treaty this Sunday, six months after announcing its withdrawal from the agreement, which opened the door for member states to conduct observation flights – with unarmed aircraft – to obtain first-hand information on suspicious military activities in other countries, in the interests of transparency and mutual trust.
The agreement was negotiated three decades ago and, according to Washington at the time, Moscow has failed to comply with it by not allowing surveillance over towns such as Kaliningrad or the border with Georgia, where it could be deploying nuclear weapons or carrying out large military maneuvers.
Instead, Washington believes that Russian forces are taking advantage of the treaty to obtain information on key US infrastructure.
Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded written assurances from the remaining NATO members that the data they collect from now on will not be shared with the United States, before advising that the American bases in Europe wouldn’t be left out of Russian surveillance missions.
With this measure, there are already three military agreements broken by Trump since his arrival at the White House, after removing the United States from the nuclear pact with Iran and the Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces signed with Russia. Not to mention the withdrawal of the Paris Agreement on climate change approved by 195 countries in December 2015.
“To fulfill my solemn duty to protect the United States and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement,” Trump said from the White House gardens.