19:06 GMT16 January 2021
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    The US Department of Defense (DoD) on Thursday said that the US would formally submit its request to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty on Friday.

    In a statement, the DoD wrote that "Russia has increasingly used the treaty to support propaganda narratives in an attempt to justify Russian aggression against its neighbors and may use it for military targeting against the US and our allies."

    The statement also said that Russia has "continuously violated its obligations under the treaty."

    On Thursday, Vladimir Ermakov, the head of the Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control at the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that if the US does withdraw from the treaty, it will be "regrettable."

    "If it does happen, it will be very regrettable, of course. But unfortunately, it goes with the general policy of the current [US] administration [which aims to] derail all agreements on arms control. This treaty is crucial in terms of ensuring predictability and mutual trust in Europe and on a larger scale," the diplomat said.

    Two US lawmakers on Thursday introduced legislation to prevent US President Donald Trump from withdrawing the nation from international treaties without first getting congressional approval.

    “Senator Edward J. Markey and Congressman Jimmy Panetta today introduced the Preventing Actions Undermining Security without Endorsement (PAUSE) Act to prevent a US president from withdrawing from international treaties without Congressional approval,” the statement by Markey read.

    ​The Open Skies Treaty, which entered into force in 2002, establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of the states who are members of the accord.


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    Russia, Open Skies Treaty, US
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