Russia invites NATO to set acceptable aircraft approach distances

Russia is ready to conclude an agreement with NATO specifying the allowed approach distances for aircraft and ships, said the Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy.

"To outline the steps in order to avoid sensitive incidents in the actions of aircraft and maritime vessels, we are ready to establish joint rules defining the minimum approach distances for aircraft and ships, as well as the protocol of communication between crews," Rudskoy said.

Rudskoy said that this proposal is part of Russia’s measures s to reduce tensions in Europe, which also include suspending large exercises near the borders and using transponders when flying combat aircraft in the Baltic.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on May 19 that the Russian army has no plans to conduct exercises near the borders of NATO countries during the COVID-19 pandemic and has generally scaled them down.

"During the period that we are now going through, during of coronavirus pandemic, our military has reported that they are reducing the scale of the exercises and do not plan any exercises near the line of contact with the North Atlantic Alliance," said Lavrov, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

On May 21, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Open Skies Treaty. This is not the first military treaty involving Russia, from which the United States withdrew. In 2019, Washington withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The reason in both cases was named the actions of Russia.ADF

  NATO, Russia