World News

State Department: Open Skies Treaty Measures Against Russia 'Reversible'

State Department: Open Skies Treaty Measures Against Russia 'Reversible'

Russia plans to limit US military reconnaissance flights over Russian territory under the Open Skies Treaty starting January 1 in response to limits on Russian flights over the United States recently announced by Washington, Russian news agencies reported.

The two countries have not signed one since World War Two.

But in June, the United States accused Russia of violating the treaty by limiting USA flights over its Kaliningrad enclave in Eastern Europe and said that in response, it would limit some Russian flights over US territory starting on January 1.

As tensions heat up in the Pacific region, specifically on the Korean peninsula, Japan finalized plans to purchase two USA -built missile defense systems.

Moscow will limit the scope of US military observation flights over Russia from January 1 next year in retaliation for USA curbs on similar Russian flights over the United States, the RIA news agency reported on Wednesday.

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With relations between Washington and Moscow at their lowest point in decades, each side has accused the other of violating agreements, including the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty. Its position as the country's westernmost territory, wedged between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members Poland and Lithuania, makes it a potential flashpoint.

The U.S. has accused Russian Federation of violating the INF treaty in the past, which Moscow has repeatedly denied.

"In addition, in December, a note was sent by the Russian side on the termination of a number of bilateral agreements with the United States starting from January 1, 2018, which related to facilitating the implementation of flights under the treaty", Zakharova added.

Maria Zakharova on Thursday said the ministry handed USA ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman a memorandum with such a proposal last Thursday amid "long-standing and systematic aspirations of Washington to influence the developments in Russia in its own interests", Xinhua reported.

"The US response measures are reversible should Russian Federation come back into compliance with its Open Skies Treaty obligations", the official said on Thursday.


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