MOSCOW (Xinhua) -- The Russian State Duma, or the lower house of parliament, unanimously approved a bill on Wednesday on the country’s withdrawal from the arms-control Treaty on Open Skies.
State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said that while the United States has pulled out of this key pact, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization members are still able to conduct reconnaissance flights under the treaty and pass data to Washington.
“The United States has exited the treaty, so how can they expect to continue to monitor Russia? We must exit ... and continue to build relations on an equal basis, not within the framework of double standards, as is currently the case,” he said.
Volodin called the day historic and important for Russia’s security.
The multilateral Treaty on Open Skies, which became effective in 2002, allows its states-parties to conduct short-notice, unarmed reconnaissance flights over the others’ entire territories to collect data on military forces and activities.
After the U.S. withdrawal in November 2020, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced in January that the country had started domestic legal procedures for the official pullout from the treaty.