MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
Since December 18, 2021, the Russian Federation is no longer a party to the Open Skies Treaty (OST) and, accordingly, is no longer a member of the group of member states provided for by its provisions.
The decision in favor of participation in Don, as you know, at one time was taken by us not without difficulty. Nevertheless, we took this step in the interests of strengthening international security. One of the weighty arguments at that time was the participation of the United States in the Treaty, which advocated transparency in the military field, but was in no hurry to open its territory for the application of confidence-building measures.
Decades of fruitful implementation of the OST have shown that it has served well as a tool for strengthening confidence and security, created additional opportunities for an objective and unbiased assessment of the military potentials and military activities of the participating States.
We are leaving the Treaty with the awareness of the great work done to preserve its viability. For two decades, the Russian Federation accounted for the largest number of observation missions among all the participating states (we conducted 646 and 449 out of 1580 observation flights performed over its territory). Russia became the first state to switch to digital surveillance equipment within the framework of the DON.
Not in words, but in deeds, we made every effort to implement and preserve the Treaty, sometimes taking major steps towards its other participants. Let us at least recall that when, in 2018, due to Georgia’s destructive position, all participating states were deprived of the opportunity to perform observation flights, it was the goodwill of our country that made it possible to unblock the deadlock and resume the implementation of the Treaty. Only those who are alien to the sense of objectivity can accuse us of a non-constructive approach.
Unfortunately, all our efforts did not allow us to preserve the Treaty as it was intended by its authors. He fell victim to the internal struggle of various groups of influence in the United States, in which the “hawks” took over. The prevailing policy of Washington is to destroy the previously reached agreements in the field of arms control.
Even in this situation, when the balance of interests, rights and obligations of the member states had already been violated as a result of the US withdrawal from the Treaty, the Russian side did everything in its power to search for possible compromise solutions. We offered various options for resolving two fundamentally important problems – non-transfer of information received during observation flights to states that are not members of the OST, and ensuring the exercise of our right to conduct such flights over US military installations in Europe. However, for a number of participating states, bloc discipline turned out to be more important than the interests of peace and international security. Their support for DON was limited to empty, irrelevant declarations.
All these circumstances left us no choice. They predetermined Russia’s withdrawal from the Treaty. We cannot and will not neglect the interests of national security.
We respect the decision of the participating States remaining in the Treaty to continue its implementation. We wish them constructive and fruitful collaboration. However, it is already obvious that without the participation of the United States and our country, the effectiveness of OST will sharply decrease: the area of its application will decrease by about 80 percent, and the number of open skies missions planned for 2022 will sharply decrease.
The entire responsibility for the degradation of the treaty regime lies with the initiator of the collapse of the DON – the United States of America.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.