Russian Parliament House endorses bill to quit Open Skies Treaty

The Russian State Duma, or the lower house of parliament, unanimously approved a bill on the country's withdrawal from the arms-control Treaty on Open Skies.
Russian Parliament House endorses bill to quit Open Skies Treaty


State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said on Wednesday that while the US has pulled out of this key pact, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members are still able to conduct reconnaissance flights under the treaty and pass data to Washington, reports Xinhua news agency.
"The US has exited the Treaty, so how can they expect to continue to monitor Russia? We must exit and continue to build relations on an equal basis, not within the framework of double standards, as is currently the case," he said.
Volodin called the day historic and important for Russia's security.
The multilateral Treaty on Open Skies, which became effective in 2002, allows its 34 state-parties to conduct short-notice, unarmed reconnaissance flights over the others' entire territories to collect data on military forces and activities.
After the US withdrawal on November 22, 2020, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced this January that the country had started domestic legal procedures for the official pullout from the Treaty. 
The US and Russia have blamed each other for non-compliance with the treaty.
The treaty is aimed at building confidence and familiarity among state parties through their participation in the overflights.
By 2019, over 1,500 Open Skies flights have been conducted since the deal entered into force, according to media reports.

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