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Russia declares retaliation over Open Skies Treaty concerns

Russia declares retaliation over Open Skies Treaty concerns

Russia has vowed to take retaliatory measures if there were attempts to limit its rights under the Treaty on Open Skies, after the US decided to withdraw from the deal, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said.

"No scenarios are excluded," the Ministry said in a statement yesterday, adding that the Treaty withdrawal would damage the image of the US as a reliable partner, reports Xinhua news agency.

This week, an online conference of the Treaty member states was held to consider the consequences of the US withdrawal.

According to the Russian statement, most participants noted the importance of the treaty for European security and the need to maintain it, and expressed regret over the US pullout and hoped that the decision will be reviewed.

Many participants emphasized the need to resolve the problem of compliance with the treaty at the negotiating table, and expressed their support for the ongoing work in this direction alongside their readiness to actively participate in it, the Ministry said.

It is obvious that the partners were aware of the negative consequences of Washington's withdrawal, but at the same time, they have not yet shown willingness to take responsibility for the fate of the Treaty and engage in truly serious dialogue with Russia in order to address mutual concerns, it said.

In May, US President Donald Trump said his country was withdrawing from the Treaty, the latest move to abandon a major international arms control agreement.

Trump accused Russia of not adhering to the Treaty, which Moscow has repeatedly denied.

The treaty, which became effective in 2002, allows members to conduct unarmed reconnaissance flights over each other's territories to collect data on military activities.

It is aimed at building confidence and familiarity among states-parties through their participation in the over flights.

Currently, 35 nations, including Russia, the US, and some other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, have signed it.

But Kyrgyzstan, which signed the Treaty, has not yet ratified it..