Washington is not stopping its involvement in the Treaty on Open Skies (TOS), and intends to remain committed to the agreement, a US State Department representative told TASS.
“The United States is not suspending its participation in the TOS. On the contrary, the US remains committed to the continued implementation of the treaty, as demonstrated by the authorization for the recapitalization of our Open Skies aircraft and our ongoing efforts to modernize our fleet,” the official commented.
The Russian State Duma later clarified to RIA Novosti that some of the funds for the realization of the TOS had been frozen, until steps are taken against Russia in response to its violation of the treaty.
On Monday, US President Donald Trump signed the country’s defense bill for 2019, with an allocated budget of $716 billion. Like the previous bills, the new one accuses Russia of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). The document also contains a point on the suspension of the implementation of the TOS with Russia, until Russia complies with it again.
On February 26, Deputy US Defense Secretary for Policy David Trachtenberg said that Russia has developed and tested ground-based cruise missiles in violation of the INF. He also claimed that Moscow is continuing to violate the TOS and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.
The Treaty on Open Skies is an international agreement dating back to 1992. Participant countries are entitled to make inspection flights over each other’s territories, monitoring both military activity and adherence to the active weapons control treaties.