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Monday, June 14, 2021

Putin signs law ending Russia’s Open Skies treaty with the US

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a law to officially end the country’s Open Skies Treaty with the U.S. less than two weeks before his meeting with President Biden in Geneva.

Last month, the Biden administration told Russia that it had no plans to rejoin the arms control pact that was abandoned during the Trump administration. (Biden, the candidate, called Trump’s move “short-sighted.”)

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Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted last November, “America is more secure” after withdrawing from the 1992 treaty. “Russia remains in noncompliance with its obligations,” he said, according to the Arms Control Association.

Reuters reported that Moscow called Biden’s decision not to rejoin the pact a “political mistake.”

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board praised Biden’s decision not to rejoin the pact that was aimed to build trust between Russia and the West by allowing the accord’s more than three dozen signatories to conduct reconnaissance flights over each other’s territories to collect information about military forces and activities.

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The U.S. relationship has had a strained relationship with Moscow over its assertiveness in Ukraine, recent hacks and backing of Belarus’ President Aleksandr Lukashenko.

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The paper called the pact a “relic of the optimism that accompanied the downfall of the Soviet Union,” but said these agreements “only work when the parties operate in good faith.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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