The Trump administration is expected to soon announce that it plans to exit the ‘Treaty on Open Skies’, and the prospective of this shift has sent alarm bills ringing on Capitol Hill, with a chorus of criticism for the Democrats, reports CNN.
This treaty was signed in 1992 and went into effect in 2002 and allows 34 member states to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over one another's territories.
If America exit this treaty, it could affect the American military's ability to conduct aerial surveillance of Russia and other member countries and there could be oversight to help verify arms control agreements.
Exiting open skies treaty is the latest major international treaty Trump administration has abandoned and the other important treaty was the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia.
State Department spokesperson acknowledged Democratic lawmakers' letter regarding the treaty and said, "We do not comment on Congressional correspondence. We continue to implement the treaty and are in full compliance with our obligations under this Treaty, unlike Russia."
Top Democrats in Congress wrote a letter in a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and said, "Pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty, an important multilateral arms control agreement, would be yet another gift from the Trump Administration to Russian President Vladimir Putin."
The Russian Embassy twitter handle in Washington posted, "We consider the #OpenSkiesTreaty to be an important instrument in ensuring European security on the same level as the 2011 Vienna document on confidence- and security-building measures."