07:43 GMT25 May 2020
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    Moscow will take adequate retaliatory steps if observation flights over the US under the Open Skies treaty are limited, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated.

    Russia will evaluate the US intentions reportedly aimed to impede observation flights under the Treaty on Open Skies, spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said during a press briefing.

    "Speaking about the measures being taken by the United States, which, as the media reports are called to complicate the Russian observation flights over the US territory, well, we will evaluate them in order to determine whether they violate the [Open Skies] treaty," she said.

    The comment was made after on September 26, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US authorities were going to announce restrictions on Russian observation flights over the US soil within the framework of the Open Skies Treaty, beginning on January 1, 2018.

    "Then, we will take a decision on our own adequate steps, because, as you know, and we constantly reiterate this, nobody has canceled the principle of reciprocity in international relations," Zakharova stressed.

    The day before, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov stated that Russia will respond to US restrictions on the Open Skies Treaty, possible retaliatory measures are being discussed with the Russian Defense Ministry.

    In early August, in accordance with the treaty, a Russian surveillance plane flew over Washington DC at a low altitude en route to New York City and New Jersey. The United States and the United Kingdom carried out a joint observation flight over Russia and Belarus on August 21-26.

    The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992 and came into effect in 2002. According to the treaty, the party states have the right to carry out surveillance flights over the territories of each other, with no limits in the areas of flight. It currently comprises 35 signatories, including the United States, Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Turkey Sweden, and other European and Asian states.

    observation flight, Treaty on Open Skies, Russian Foreign Ministry, United States, Russia
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