Biden administration will not re-enter Open Skies Treaty with Russia


Biden-led US administration on May 27, 2021, announced that the country has told Russia it will not rejoin the Open Skies Treaty, a key arms control pact that allowed both member countries to fly surveillance aircraft over each other’s military facilities.

Wendy Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State told Sergei Ryabkov, Russian Deputy stated that the US does not seek to renter the Open Skies Treaty due to Russia’s failure to comply with the pact. The announcement came in just a few weeks before an upcoming summit between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

Now, the New START treaty is the only major arms control agreement in place between the US and Russia. Biden-led administration extended the START treaty by five years.

The Open Skies Treaty: Highlights

•The United States signed the treaty on March 24, 1992, and it came into force in 2002. The Open Skies Treaty allows both member countries to fly surveillance aircraft over each other’s military facilities. The treaty was intended to promote transparency among the member countries.

•34 member states participate in the treaty, though Former President Donald Trump in November 2020 announced the withdrawal of the US. Later in January 2021, Russia also announced its withdrawal from the treaty.

•Former US President Dwight Eisenhower had proposed the idea of aerial surveillance between the US and the Soviet Union in July 1995, however, Moscow then rejected the proposal on the grounds of spying.

•Later in May 1989, former President George Bush reintroduced the proposal and after a conference between NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and Warsaw Pact countries in 1990 followed by subsequent rounds of discussions, the Open Skies Treaty was signed on March 24, 1992. The treaty came into force on January 2, 2002, after the completion of the ratification process by Russia and Belarus.


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