• Recently, Russia announced that it was pulling out of the Open Skies treaty as this pact allows unarmed surveillance flights over member countries, had been seriously compromised by the withdrawal of the US.
• The US left the Open Skies arms control and verification treaty in November, accusing Russia of violating it, something denied by Moscow as it had made specific proposals to other members to mitigate against the impact of the US exit but that those proposals were not backed by Washington’s allies.
• The Open Skies treaty allows surveillance flights from member countries to gather information on military activities. Russia fears that even though the US has exited the treaty, it will continue to have access to
overflight intelligence gathered by its allies who are still signatories.
• Russia exited the pact reportedly after others refused to give assurances that they would not share this intelligence with US.
Mains Paper 2: International Relations
Prelims level: Open Skies treaty
Mains level: Read the newsfeed