Brussels, June 20, 2021.- We deeply regret the notification by Russia of its decision to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies, an important legally binding instrument which contributes to transparency, security and stability, and mutual confidence in the Euro-Atlantic area.
Russia has for many years refused to fully comply with its obligations under the Treaty on Open Skies, by, inter alia, imposing non-compliant flight restrictions over the Kaliningrad region, and near its border with Georgia.
We have repeatedly called on Russia to return to full compliance with the Treaty and have taken multiple steps, including during the 4th Review Conference of the Treaty on Open Skies, to constructively resolve outstanding issues of compliance. Russia has instead failed to engage constructively, and has not taken steps towards returning to full compliance. The United States cited Russia’s refusal to fully comply as a significant factor in its decision to withdraw from the Treaty in November 2020, in accordance with its provisions. We share the concerns the United States referred to in its decision.
We remain committed to conventional arms control as a key element of Euro-Atlantic security. We reiterate our full commitment to reduce military risk, prevent misperceptions and conflicts, build trust and confidence and, thereby, contribute to peace and security.
We continue to aspire to a constructive relationship with Russia, when Russia’s actions make that possible. We urge Russia to use the remaining six months before its withdrawal takes effect to reconsider its decision and return to full compliance with the Treaty on Open Skies.