Russia threatens retaliation if Washington withdraws from "heavens deal"[/rtl]
[rtl]Date: 2019/11/7 22:30 • 38 times read[/rtl]
Moscow has arranged retaliatory measures in anticipation of a US withdrawal from the Open Skies Agreement, an agreement that allows the two countries to conduct surveillance flights on their respective territories, the Russian news agency reported on Thursday.
The agreement, which entered into force in 2002, includes 34 countries and aims to build confidence between the signatories and allows them to carry out unarmed surveillance flights after a brief notice to collect information on each other's armies.
Russia and the United States, the world's two biggest nuclear powers, used the deal to monitor each other's nuclear activities, but senior US lawmakers said last month they believed President Donald Trump might pull out of the deal. .
A senior State Department official was quoted as saying late on Wednesday that Washington's exit from the Open Skies Agreement would deal a blow to global security, but Moscow had prepared a response if that happened.
"We have prepared everything. You will realize that," the agency quoted Vladimir Ermakov, head of the State Department's Arms Control and Nuclear Nonproliferation Department, as saying.
The departure of the United States from the agreement would undermine the global structure of arms control, which has been under pressure since the abolition of an important agreement to reduce nuclear weapons last August.
Under the agreement, the host country will receive a full copy of the information collected during its reconnaissance mission, and any member state can obtain a copy of the data after agreement with the country that owns it.