Russia warns of ‘domino effect’ for Open Skies Treaty after US withdrawal

Moscow, Jul 4 (efe-epa).- Russia warned on Saturday that the United States withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty could have a “domino effect” on the agreement.

Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said the treaty could collapse if other nations follow Washington’s lead.

“I would not want the agreement to fall apart. We admit that a ‘domino effect’ is possible and that the countries most zealously supporting the United States, on various issues, may consider such a possibility under pressure from Washington,” he told state-controlled Russian news agency Sputnik.

“We would not like this, because then the agreement will inevitably come collapse.”

The Open Skies Treaty has been in force since 2002 and allows unarmed surveillance flights over the territories of 34 member countries, which includes almost all European Union nations.

US President Donald Trump announced in May that the country will withdraw from the deal and accused Russia of failing to comply with the agreement, which Moscow has denied.

Ryabkov told Russian news agency Interfax that Russia could follow suit and said “all options are on the table”.

He also warned that after the US departure from the treaty it should not be able to receive information from members.

Participating countries will hold a conference on Monday to discuss Washington’s withdrawal.

Ryabkov said Moscow does not expect the US to reverse its decision and warned that any criticism of Russia during the meeting would be a deviation from the agreed topic.

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