Biden administration will not seek to join Open Skies treaty after 2020 release
Biden administration will not seek re-entry into Open Skies Treaty with Russia in response to “this country’s inability to take action to return to compliance,” a State Department spokesperson said Thursday .
The 1992 treaty allows member countries to conduct unarmed reconnaissance flights on short notice over other countries to collect data on their military forces and activities.
The United States formally withdrew from the treaty last year under the Trump administration, citing Russia’s violations. But the Biden administration’s decision not to request a re-entry is particularly notable as it removes a potential area for immediate collaboration as President Joe Biden prepares to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month.
The Associated Press first reported on the decision.
“The United States regrets that the Open Skies Treaty has been undermined by Russia’s violations. In concluding its review of the treaty, therefore, the United States does not intend to seek to join it, as Russia has not taken steps to return to compliance. Moreover, Russia’s behavior, including its recent actions towards Ukraine, is not that of a partner committed to building confidence, ”said the spokesperson for the Department of Ukraine. ‘State.
The decision comes a few weeks before Biden will meet with Putin in Switzerland on June 16. Earlier this week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said strategic stability would be one of the issues Biden is discussing with Putin.
“We anticipate that they will spend quite a bit of time on strategic stability, where the arms control program goes after the extension of the new START,” Psaki said at Tuesday’s briefing.
The Biden administration imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia last month for alleged Moscow interference in the 2020 election, the massive hack of SolarWinds, and the continued occupation of Crimea.
The sanctions announcement showed that the Biden administration was more willing to directly denounce Russian interference in US affairs after Trump administration officials had to dance around the former president’s frequent reluctance Donald Trump to criticize Moscow.
However, the president decided not to sanction the company in charge of the construction. Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 – a measure he defended earlier this week as necessary to protect US relations with European allies.
“I have been opposed to Nord Stream 2 from the start,” Biden said on Tuesday of the pipeline, which is slated for completion this summer and intended to provide Europe with a sustainable gas supply while giving Russia greater access. direct to the European market. .
“But it was almost over by the time I took office,” Biden added. “And to go ahead and impose sanctions now I think would be counterproductive in terms of our European relations and I hope we can work on how they handle this from now on.”